Hanover, Germany – Continental AG is appointing Dirk Abendroth as chief technology officer (CTO) of the future Continental Automotive group sector effective 1 Jan 2019.
The move is ahead of Conti’s planned merger of its autonomous driving technologies and connected mobility expertise by the end of next year.
Continental Automotive will cover both chassis & safety and interior units, and will be reorganised by 2020 into two business areas of “autonomous driving technologies” and “vehicle networking technologies”. Both business areas will be supported by a newly created central Automotive Research and Development function.
Abendroth, who is joining from future mobility company Byton, will assume responsibility for the associated global R&D function within the automotive group sector.
His areas of expertise include the development of systems for automated driving, connected mobility and electric vehicle drives.
Abendroth will report to CEO Elmar Degenhart.
Commenting on the appointment, Degenhart said Abendroth was a “proven and globally-recognised manager” for the development of automated and connected mobility of the future.
As part of its automotive strategy, Conti said its priorities include “technology trend scouting with a focus on future issues such as automation, zero accidents, connectivity and new mobility services.”
The company is also investing in artificial intelligence and new wireless technologies across all its business units.
“The future of mobility requires more and more software. In many pioneering projects, the development of software already accounts for 80% of the expenses,” the Conti CEO added.
According to Degenhart Conti already generates over 60% of its sales in the automotive sector with digital products, and the figure “is rapidly increasing.”
Dirk Abendroth has been responsible for the Powertrain and Autonomous Driving units at Byton since July 2016. His previous employers include BMW in Munich, Germany, where he led the development of electric drives, including drives for the i3 and i8 models.