BERKELEY, Calif.—Continental A.G. signed a membership agreement with an artificial intelligence research group at the University of California, Berkeley.
The company's five-year membership in the UC Berkeley DeepDrive center is part of a drive to expand Continental's international research network for AI, according to a company release.
The research partnership focuses on optimizing the speed of neural networks, as well as protecting AI systems in safety-critical applications.
The partnership builds on the momentum of Continental's strategic partnerships with the University of Oxford, German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence and other AI thought leaders, said Demetrio Aiello, head of Continental's corporate AI and robotics lab.
BDD, managed by the Institute of Transportation Studies at UC Berkeley, works on technologies for machine seeing and learning in automotive technologies. Trevor Darrell, professor and director of the Partners for Advanced Transportation Technology program, leads the group.
In the first year of the program membership, Continental and BDD will start with work in the testability of AI algorithms in safety-relevant systems. The research group also is looking into operating AI applications in a memory-efficient method to optimize neural networks, for easier implementation of AI methods in vehicles.
UC Berkeley's research in the field of Explainable AI, which focuses on how an AI system makes decisions, was what inspired Continental most to team up with the group, said Aiello. The partnership also helps Continental identify the talent needed for its AI strategies.
Continental's corporate AI and robotics lab, set up in 2015, has led to collaborations with Nvidia and Baidu, as well as research institutes such as the University of Oxford, the Technische Universitat Darmstadt and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras. By the end of 2018, Continental will employ about 400 engineers with specific AI expertise, and is looking to add AI experts in product and process development.
In 2018, the Continental Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit opened a center of excellence for deep machine learning in Budapest, Hungary.