Continental snatches Google exec for autonomous cars program image

The German automotive supplier is keenly showing its growing interest in self-driving technology, and with its latest move it has lured away from Google one of the company’s autonomous car executives.

The auto parts maker (also one of Europe’s largest tire makers) is also growing its Sillicon Valley presence, signaling the growing importance of the computer “Mecca” for car companies that aim to develop and commercialize self-driving vehicles in the near future. The company has moved to announce in a statement that it’s forming a new division, called Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, with headquarters in Silicon Valley. Seval Oz, formerly serving as Google Inc’s leader of global strategic partnerships for the self-driving car project since 2011, will head the new business unit.

“This step is an excellent example of our strategy to make the car an integral part of the ‘Internet of Everything,’” said Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart. “Our key objectives include eliminating road accidents, minimizing energy consumption, maximizing comfort and usability of vehicles, and enabling them to exchange information with each other in real-time.”

Continental so far has been one of the hardware providers for automakers to use in their autonomous car projects, but the company’s goal is to become an integrator – developing both hardware and software for the car companies.

Via Automotive News Europe