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Continental Auto riding Smart Nation vision with Singapore

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Continental's Body & Security Business Unit in Singapore. Continental's Singapore centre is one of its largest R&D centres in Asia.

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Continental's Infotainment & Connectivity (above) and Instrumentation & Driver HMI Business Units in Singapore.

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Continental's Infotainment & Connectivity and Instrumentation & Driver HMI (above) Business Units in Singapore.

GERMAN automotive solutions provider Continental Automotive is a long-term investor and a strong believer in Singapore's vision of becoming a Smart Nation.

"With Singapore's excellent infrastructure, strong government support, talented workforce and its unique location, the country is on the path to become a Smart Nation," said a spokesman.

He cited for example the Singapore government's strong support of R&D, and its S$19 billion commitment for R&D initiatives under the five-year RIE2020 plan, and urban solutions and sustainability being one of the four primary technology domains.

"With Singapore's aim to become a Smart Nation, Continental contributes by being involved such as our support to the Singapore Institute of Technology's (SIT) Telematics degree in Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) and the launch of the Park&Go@SG mobile application (Android in 2015 and iOS in 2016)," the spokesman pointed out.

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Other developments include Continental's Powertrain Division's Transmission (TR) Business Unit being brought to Singapore in 2016. The TR Business Unit develops and manufactures technologically advanced controller solutions for a variety of transmissions.

On a broader scale, Continental's roadmap for autonomous vehicles foresees a partial automated driving technology ready by 2020, and in 2025 a fully autonomous technology. In line with this, the platform www.2025ad.com has been created by Continental to promote and discuss autonomous vehicle technology.

Continental's BEE (Balanced Economy and Ecology) mobility concept is one of company's comprehensive visionary solutions for individual mobility in the urban environment.

Designed as a vehicle for one or two people, the BEE is electrically powered and whizzes around at speeds of up to 60 km/h with a range of more than 350 km per day.

The concept vehicle is designed to ensure tailored, stress-free and comfortable travel in the city of the future and is meant to work together with a smartphone to provide seamless transportation.

Continental's Singapore spokesman noted that with the acquisition of Singapore-based mobility intelligence provider Quantum Inventions in July, it aims to strengthen its offerings in intelligent transportation systems, specifically in the area of city data. The company specialises in connected navigation, telematics, and intelligent mobility solutions.

Among reasons why Continental has invested heavily in the country, especially in R&D and other high-end functions, are Singapore's good ratings and excellent location.

The spokesman cited the fact that Singapore has been rated sixth among most innovative economies, seventh in innovation, and second in terms of ease of doing business.

"Singapore's unique location, often referred to as the Gateway to Asia, offers strong connections in between different countries, therefore opening up possibilities for development and expansion," he added.

The Continental R&D Centre in Singapore currently consists of two buildings - the main building, which opened in 2012, and the annex building, which was developed in 2014.

Meanwhile a third building is under construction with targeted completion in mid-2018, to meet the growing demand for automotive engineering capabilities, noted the spokesman.

Continental's current floor space of 16,250 square metres houses more than 1,200 employees, with about 80 per cent of the employees working in R&D.

This makes the Singapore location one of Continental's largest R&D centres in Asia, dedicated to the design and development of in-car information management systems. Continental Singapore is a multi-cultural company with employees of over 20 different nationalities.

Apart from the office site for R&D, the Singapore location also contains a specialised automotive product verification and validation hub, a reliability test laboratory as well as a test car space for in-vehicle R&D activities, he added.

Continental believes that the prospects for future Singapore-German relations are good, especially with the development of Asean and Singapore's gateway role in the region.

"The recently signed Joint Declaration on strengthening cybersecurity cooperation between Singapore and Germany, and the appointment of two German ambassadors by the Economic Development Board (EDB), are examples of how we are strengthening the bridge between the two countries," the spokesman said.

"Singapore's efficiency, strong governance, as well as our unique location as the 'Gateway to Asia' are major push factors for German firms, opening up new cooperation possibilities and opportunities for expansion," he added.