BERLIN – Continental AG signed separate strategic cooperation agreements with Nio and Baidu here on May 31 in the areas of electric vehicles, intelligent mobility and autonomous driving as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Germany for his official visit.
The strategic framework agreement with Nio, a global EV startup, will see the two companies collaborate closely in the field of fully electric vehicles and other relevant fields, including intelligent transportation systems and automated driving, striving to build a stable partnership on a long-term basis. Under the agreement, they will collaborate on Nio’s new car platforms.
In a first step, Continental will supply vehicle technology such as air suspension systems and tires to Nio’s ES8 electric SUV that was unveiled at the recent Auto Shanghai 2017 and expected to be launched to the market in 2018.
“Cars of the future will feature electric drives, which will be fully connected and automated. In 2025, we expect a market share for fully electric drive systems of around 10 percent. Continental is well positioned to successfully meet these future demands on automotive drive systems. Already today, China is one of the leading markets for electric vehicles. Our collaboration with Nio will contribute to further advance the development of electric vehicles and the Chinese electric vehicle market,” said Continental Chairman of the Executive Board Dr. Elmar Degenhart.
“We are excited to be partnering with Continental on a number of projects, including automated driving, charging, and battery technology, to deliver unique services and experiences to our users,” commented William Li, founder and chairman of Nio.
Continental and Nio plan to establish a timely information-sharing mechanism with different levels of communication channels, and regularly carry out technical exchanges to jointly define leading process and quality standards. Furthermore, both sides agreed to establish cooperation platforms in the areas of brand promotion, product marketing, technology promotion, quality training, customer service and talent training. An action plan and a strategic alliance will be further discussed and developed.
The two have been cooperating in a number of areas ever since Nio was established in 2014. Under the agreement, Continental and Nio will further collaborate on Nio new car platforms. This includes vehicle technologies such as wireless charging, automated driving, digital cockpit, next-generation brake systems and air suspension systems.
The strategic cooperation agreement with Baidu, on the other hand, has a goal of establishing a comprehensive strategic cooperation in the areas of automated driving, connected vehicles and intelligent mobility services.
Continental and Baidu will extend technology exchanges by utilizing each other’s competitive advantages in automotive components and Internet technology and form an effective technical alliance. By using complementary resources and technology know-how, both partners intend to develop technologies, products and business models that will provide comprehensive and reliable solutions for automated driving, connected vehicles and intelligent mobility services.
“Continental develops and provides pioneering technologies and services for the mobility of tomorrow. Baidu is one of the most important Internet companies in China. With our strategic collaboration, we will take intelligent mobility an important step further,” said Dr. Degenhart.
“Artificial intelligence has great potential to drive social development, and one of AI’s biggest opportunities is intelligent vehicles. By joining hands with Continental, we are striving to upgrade intelligence in the automobile industry and develop a new ecosystem of intelligent mobility and automated driving, thus empowering existing industries and new ones,” said Lu Qi, president and COO of Baidu Group.
Under the agreement, Continental and Baidu will explore collaboration fields such as sensor systems and software for advanced driver assistance systems and automated driving, applications for Baidu’s Apollo platform including artificial intelligence, cyber security and connected cars, as well as road test, data collection and analysis for automated driving.