Executive Conversations: Continental selects AWS as the preferred cloud provider for software defined vehicle development
Michael Hülsewies, Senior Vice President and Head of Architecture & Software, Continental
Michael Hülsewies joined Continental as Senior Vice President and Head of Architecture & Software in July 2020. He has more than twenty years of international experience in engineering, sales and program management. Michael began his career at Delphi (now Aptiv) as an E/E systems engineer and among other things led the engineering team at various locations worldwide, most recently with overall global responsibility for engineering in the Electrical Distribution Systems division. Furthermore, he was responsible for strategic activities within E/E Architecture & Transformation at Aptiv.
Between 2018 and 2020, he worked in Santa Clara, California, as a Senior Director at automotive startup Byton, leading the E/E systems development and SW integration, ADAS, and functional safety team. He holds a degree in Business and Comp.
Bill Foy, Director of Automotive, Amazon Web Services
Bill Foy is Director of Worldwide Automotive Specialist Solutions for Amazon Web Services (AWS). As director, Bill oversees development of cloud-based business solutions for all segments of the automotive industry. He is responsible for enabling field sales, developing partners to bring solutions to create efficiencies, speed, and innovations. Passionate about Science and Technology, Bill currently serves as a Member of the Board of the Michigan Science Center and the Experience Per Mile Advisory Board. He has previously served on multiple advisory boards for Michigan Technological University and Focus Hope.
Continental and AWS Create Platform for Automotive Software
Read the announcement here.
Q: The automotive industry is changing rapidly – how is Continental involved?
Michael Hülsewies: Customers expect their cars to improve over time and become more intelligent, learning it’s drivers behavior, favorite routes and overall offering a more personalized experience. At the same time, vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) are looking to harvest data from their vehicle fleets to improve their products or use sensor data for the development of highly automated driving functions. Vehicle functions as well as differentiation between brands is increasingly defined by software – a trend that we call software defined vehicles.
New customer requirements are the reason why many OEMs are starting to think different about vehicle architectures. To deploy new experiences seamlessly and rapidly throughout the vehicle’s lifecyle, OEMs are thinking holistically from vehicle to cloud. While most cars today will have more than 100 electronic control units (ECUs) where each ECU is responsible for a single feature, new architectures are built around a few high performance compute (HPC) units. The vehicle functions run on top of these HPC units and are defined by software.
Continental, as a core supplier of electronic systems for OEMs, is core to this trend. With our new Continental Automotive Edge Platform on AWS, we offer OEMs a comprehensive and unified development platform to develop, integrate, and deploy software seamlessly from the cloud to the vehicle.
Q: While your business is recognized publicly by many, what’s one unique characteristic or feature that is either lesser known or understood about your company?
Michael Hülsewies: Continental, today, already employs more than 20.000 software engineers and is the first provider that launched a high performance central vehicle compute architecture at scale with multiple brands.
Q: As you are preparing to launch the Continental Automotive Edge Platform – what have been major challenges that you needed to overcome?
Michael Hülsewies: Historically, hardware and software development in the automotive industry are tightly coupled and highly dependent on each other. Decoupling software and hardware development, while ensuring a seamless deployment of software functions to vehicle hardware was a challenge that has not been done before. At the same time, we had to make sure that our platform supports stringent and complex automotive security requirements to ensure regulatory compliance and passenger safety.
Q: What are some example use cases of the Continental Automotive Edge Platform?
Michael Hülsewies: Our customers can leverage CAEdge for any area of automotive software development. One example is the management of recorded data from vehicle fleets for testing and simulation of automated driving functions. CAEdge is an integrated toolchain that enables build and testing of new software functions and manage the roll-out to vehicle fleets via over the air updates. Software has been transforming the in-vehicle experiences and cloud is transforming how OEMs do business. Despite the high value software brings to vehicle performance and consumer experience, the development of automotive software modules frequently occurs in silos impacting the agility and flexibility to deploy back to vehicles. The deployment of such software inside the vehicle has faced many challenges especially due to dependency on different hardware across make/models and a disparity between development and deployment environments for developers.
Bill Foy: AWS is closely collaborating with Continental to develop next generation software defined vehicle as a platform that can scale from vehicle to cloud across in-vehicle domains (ADAS, Body, Cockpit, others) , OEMs and regions. With the OEMs’ desire to revamp E/E architecture and bring high performance compute inside the vehicle, AWS offers a set of IoT services including IoT Greengrass enabling edge compute with capabilities to run machine learning inference and containers. With the broadest and deepest cloud capabilities AWS services help customer to achieve seamless development and deployment by offering managed services for continuous integration and deployment
Q: In the face of the current disruption to the automotive industry, we’ve observed incredible innovations coming from across the industry. How has your company innovated through these challenging times and what are you most proud of?
Michael Hülsewies: Continental was the first to market with a high-performance compute system and corresponding software platform enabling the first iteration software defined vehicles and over the air updates. The CAEdge platform and our collaboration with AWS is the next step to further accelerate our speed of innovation in automotive software.
Q: Machine Learning and big data are hot topics, especially in the automotive space – how is Continental using ML and how do you make it more accessible for your customers?
Michael Hülsewies: Machine Learning is a key component for advanced driving assistance systems as well as highly automated driving. The CAEdge platform offers tools and processes to manage recorded driving data. Our customers can use machine learning based on Amazon Sagemaker to remove personal information from vehicle camera recordings by automating blurring faces or license plates before using this data in subsequent workflows. The platform supports multiple use cases that leverage machine learning to detect anomalies in vehicle behavior across fleets or develop new algorithms for autonomous driving.
Bill Foy: Amazon SageMaker is a machine learning service that is utilized to build, train, and deploy machine learning models for virtually any use case. With Amazon Sagemaker, Continental and its customers can reduce data labeling costs for camera data and speed-up the development of complex models across all stages of the autonomous driving development workflow. We support our automotive customers with purpose build machine learning solutions and automotive specific accelerators. Our dedicated team of machine learning and autonomous driving experts ensures that customers run their workloads efficiently while leveraging industry best practices.
Q: What kind of impact has the cloud, and more specifically AWS on your business?
Michael Hülsewies: By building on AWS, we are able to bring the CAEdge platform to market faster. We can leverage AWS’s industry leading AI and machine learning services as well as the global footprint to bring CAEdge to our customers, regardless where they are located, including China. With AWS’ edge-to-cloud offerings including AWS Wavelength, we can support OEM’s with low latency use cases over 5G. Without the need to provision our own infrastructure, we can focus on the development of the CAEdge and on our customers.
Q: How do you think about security in the cloud?
Michael Hülsewies: Security is our highest priority. We approach security holistically from the vehicle to the cloud, where we build on AWS’s established security concepts.We are also implementing measures to protect our customer’s privacy. Our CAEdge customers will have full control to decide with whom they share their data.
Bill Foy: Security, privacy and compliance is a shared responsibility between AWS and Continental, where AWS is responsible for protecting the infrastructure that runs all of the services offered in the AWS Cloud and Continental is responsible for securing the applications.
Q: What makes you excited about the future of automotive? What should your customers be excited about?
Michael Hülsewies: Continental Automotive Edge Platform will enable OEMs to deliver new customer experiences and provide functions and features to their customers at a fraction of time – for the end customer downloading and customizing new automotive functions both for infotainment and safety, will become as easy as downloading an application & adjusting settings on your smartphone.
The automotive & mobility ecosystem is transforming rapidly. This requires fundamental changes in how to respond to the customer needs, i.e. the way people want to enjoy their flexibility and individualism. This has significant impact to product portfolio and attributes / requirements. The good news is that all these changes will be for the benefit of our customers as well as all stakeholders of smart mobility. It will be more efficient, sustainable, intelligent and flexible – this is a very exciting outlook!