Continental is appointing Dr. Dirk Abendroth (43) as Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of the future Continental Automotive group sector effective January 1, 2019. By the end of next year, Continental will unite the technologies for autonomous driving and connected mobility in this sector.
Abendroth will assume responsibility for the associated global research and development function. The multi-award-winning development manager’s areas of expertise include the development of systems for automated driving, connected mobility and electric vehicle drives.
He currently works at Byton, based in Hong Kong and Santa Clara, California, U.S.A. In his new role at Continental, he will function as the central contact for customers and business partners with regards to strategic technology and innovation in the Continental Automotive group sector and will report to CEO Dr. Elmar Degenhart (59).
“With Dirk Abendroth, we have enhanced our team with a proven and globally recognised manager for the creation of pioneering technologies for the automated and connected mobility of the future. We are looking forward to working with him and to enhancing our overarching strategies in these crucial growth areas for the automotive industry together,” Degenhart said on the occasion of the announcement. He referred to Continental’s fast, profitable growth in these areas in particular.
As part of its automotive strategy, the technology company’s priorities include technology trend scouting with a focus on future issues such as automation, zero accidents, connectivity and new mobility services. The opportunities presented by artificial intelligence and new wireless technologies across all business units are being examined here, as well as technologies for autonomous vehicles such as robo-taxis.
Other tasks include the enhancement of processes, methods and tools for research and development focusing on embedded software and the management of the imminent consolidation and continuous optimisation of Continental Automotive’s worldwide research and development network.
“The future of mobility requires more and more software. In many pioneering projects, the development of software already accounts for 80% of the expenses. We now generate over 60% of our sales in the automotive sector with digital products, and this figure is rapidly increasing,” said Degenhart, adding: “With our combined Automotive research and development unit, we will intensify our cooperation across the organidation. In addition, we will thus speed up our innovation cycles and increase the flexibility of our innovation processes, especially with regard to software development. The benefits for our customers and end users will be cutting-edge, affordable solutions that help prevent accidents, avoid congestion and increase ride comfort.”
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.