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Continental’s global AI research network continues expansion

ABR Staff Writer Published 31 July 2018

German automotive supplier company Continental has signed membership agreement with AI research group at the University of California, Berkeley.

Under the research partnership, the parties will work to optimize the speed of neural networks, as well as protect AI systems in safety-critical applications.

Continental artificial intelligence and robotics lab head Demetrio Aiello said building on the momentum of the company's partnerships with the University of Oxford, DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) and other AI thought leaders, it has signed a five-year agreement to be members of the UC Berkeley DeepDrive (BDD) center.

BDD is working with technologies for machine seeing and learning, particularly for automotive applications. The center is managed by the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.

Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology (PATH) program Director Trevor Darrell said: "Having Continental as a BDD member is something we are very proud of. We are excited to be working closely together to develop innovative solutions.

"Continental is a leader in the automotive industry and BDD is opening up opportunities for artificial intelligence and autonomous driving in automotive applications, which makes for a great team."

In the first year of the program, the two parties will be focused on two fields of research. The first will be the testability of AI algorithms in safety-relevant systems.

Drivers need to be sure that the complex technology in their vehicles will work properly, so BDD is developing methods to allow the reliability of AI systems to be tested more efficiently.

The researchers will also look for ways to operate AI application in memory-efficient ways to accelerate and optimize neural networks. This will allow for easy implementation of AI methods in vehicles.

Aiello said: "What inspired us most to team up with the experts in Silicon Valley and UC Berkeley was the highly interesting research in the field of Explainable AI as well as the optimization of deep neural networks that were taking place there. Explainable AI focuses on understanding precisely how an AI system makes decisions. To test artificial intelligence in detail, experts must know exactly how it works.

“The opportunity to have colleagues from Silicon Valley and other Continental locations working as part of BDD research teams enables more efficient collaboration and transfer of expertise. It also allows us to identify the talent we need for our AI strategy at an early stage."

Image: Continental and UC Berkeley to work on AI for automotive applications. Photo: Courtesy of Continental AG.