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Continental Buys Minority Stake In AI Chip Startup Recogni

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  • Continental is contributing both its financial commitment as well as its expertise in the field of AI, vehicle sensors and advanced driver assistance systems to further the development of the chip design
  • Continental experts predict that volume production featuring the new chip application could begin as early as 2026

Continental has acquired a minority stake in the German-US start-up Recogni. The company is working on a new chip architecture for object recognition in real time based on artificial intelligence (AI).

It said that as a strategic investor, Continental is contributing both its financial commitment as well as its expertise in the field of AI, vehicle sensors and advanced driver assistance systems to further the development of the chip design. Continental experts predict that volume production featuring the new chip application could begin as early as 2026.

It said that the new, highly specialised processors serve as an ultra-economical data booster. It comes with minimal energy consumption. They enable vehicle computers to gain a rapid sense of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings. It creates the basis for automated and autonomous driving. Both companies have agreed not to disclose the amount of the holding.

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Future need for highly specialised processors for sensor modules

Frank Petznick, head of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit at Continental said, “Without faster chips, there will be no networking, no automation and no autonomous driving. Through our own research in the area of new chip designs, our strategic partnerships with large chip manufacturers such as NVIDIA and our investment in Recogni, we are taking the first step toward meeting the future need for highly specialised processors for sensor modules and control units for our powerful, high-performance vehicle computers.”

The need for processors that are optimised for the specific requirements of AI is growing. It said that while just a few megabytes of sensor data per second had to be analysed a couple of years ago, that figure will increase to several gigabytes per second in the coming years. Sometime back, departure warning system used to require just a simple black-and-white camera, the autonomous vehicles of the future will in some cases use more than 20 high-resolution vehicle-surroundings sensors such as radar, camera and lidar simultaneously.

The collaboration between Continental and Recogni was initiated by Continental’s own start-up organization, co-pace. Annika Ratte-Front, head of AI at Continental’s ADAS business unit said, “While everything is still theoretical, our simulations show that we can expect exponentially faster analysis of our sensor data once we begin to use the Recogni chips.”

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