Continental is planning to open a new research and development site for advanced driver assistance systems (DAS) early next year in Ulm.

"This new site will reinforce our development capacities in Germany while simultaneously expanding our worldwide network," said Friedrich Angerbauer, Head of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Business Unit in Continental's Chassis & Safety Division. In the short term, around 100 new engineering jobs will be created in Ulm, Germany; in the long term, the goal is to continue growing steadily.

"The availability of engineers, the proximity to vehicle manufacturers and universities as well as the central location relative to our other German sites for driver assistance systems in Lindau, Ingolstadt and Ottobrunn will create a good environment, and they were key to our decision to put a branch in Ulm," said Marcel Verweinen, Head of the HR Department in the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Business Unit.

Conti says that conversations are currently underway with investors and with the City of Ulm regarding suitable real estate.

The plan is to create a pure research and development site, so lab facilities will be needed in addition to a building. Conti is also looking for qualified engineers in the areas of software and hardware, mechanics, algorithm development, system testing and project management for radar, infrared and camera technologies. The planned new hires emphasise the Business Unit's growth trajectory and its significance, Conti says.

More than 1,000 employees worldwide work in the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Business Unit, in the United States, Japan and Romania as well as at the German sites.

Conti describes advanced driver assistance systems as becoming the growth engine of Continental's Chassis & Safety Division. Earlier this year the business was reorganised into its own Business Unit, located in Lindau, Germany.

"Driver assistance systems are considered a key technology when it comes to increasing driver safety, and they support our goal of moving toward accident-free driving," said Friedrich Angerbauer. "It's impossible to imagine a modern car without these invisible co-pilots, which are used every day on the road."

Driver assistance features have already become established in luxury and mid-range vehicles. Since last year, these systems are also increasingly found in compact cars. For instance, the emergency brake assist for city driving has already been built into some smaller vehicles, Continental notes.