NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas – Continental celebrated the first anniversary of its manufacturing plant in New Braunfels, Texas. The 215,000-square-foot facility has 17 production lines running and has created more than 400 jobs since it opened.
“We are proud to celebrate our first year here in New Braunfels,” said Juergen Martin, New Braunfels Plant Manager, Continental North America. “This plant is a testament to our commitment to innovation and our dedication to improving mobility for all.”
The manufacturing plant produces products for advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), which serve as the foundation for assisted and automated driving. ADAS technology, such as emergency brake assist, lane-keep assist and blind-spot detection, are instrumental in vehicle safety.
To mark the occasion, employees and their families joined together for a milestone ceremony. The celebration included plant tours, fun family activities and a celebratory dinner.
“We are grateful for the hard work and dedication of our employees. The technologies we produce are lifesaving,” said Martin. “We had a great first year and are excited to see what innovations are on the horizon.”
In addition to ADAS technology production, the plant quickly became part of the New Braunfels community. The team has hosted numerous student groups for tours and “Ask the Expert” sessions to pique the curiosity of the next generation of STEM innovators.
Continental is also actively involved in neighboring school districts to support manufacturing and technical education programs. Additionally, employees regularly volunteer at a local food bank and philanthropic organizations.
“The Texas hospitality is alive and well and we want to ensure we’re doing our part,” said Martin. “Our ADAS technologies are used worldwide, but it’s important that we make a positive contribution to our local community as well. Whether it’s our interns volunteering outside the plant, hosting the manufacturing association for a tour, or getting our subject matter experts into STEM fairs, we are committed to being good stewards in our community.”
Texas becoming a haven for ADAS innovations
In 2017, the Texas legislature passed a bill that allows for testing and operation of autonomous vehicles on public roads. As a result, several companies are testing autonomous vehicles in the Longhorn state. Continental announced a partnership earlier this year with one of these companies, Aurora Innovation.
Aurora Innovation is a self-driving technology company that aims to bring autonomous trucking to U.S. roadways. Continental and Aurora have agreed upon a hardware-as-a-service business relationship, based on mileage driven, to deliver safe, reliable, uptime-optimized and commercially scalable autonomous driving systems to customers through the Aurora Horizon platform.
Aurora Horizon was developed to offer a safer, more reliable, predictable, and cost-efficient driver service to supplement human driver supply. Using this service, carriers and fleet operators will be able to better utilize the potential of their vehicle fleets, scale business on demand and help address today’s driver shortage.
Continental and Aurora plan to provide this scalable solution to Aurora’s vehicle manufacturing partners. Continental will deliver the entire hardware set, as well as a complete fallback system, which covers the full chain of effects. In the unlikely event of a failure in the primary autonomy system, the fallback system is designed to ensure a driverless truck can continue the driving task until it reaches a safe position.
Continental’s parts are expected to be produced and assembled in its newly built manufacturing facility in New Braunfels, Texas, as well as others across the company’s global footprint.
ADAS technologies saving lives
The state-of-the-art facility manufactures ADAS products, like radars and sensors, to enable the future of assisted and automated driving.
ADAS systems have been around for decades, but they have become increasingly sophisticated in recent years. These are systems that use sensors, software, and actuators to help drivers operate their vehicles safely. In recent years, there has been rapid development of ADAS systems.
“We’ve seen an exponential growth in ADAS technologies in recent years,” said Martin. “What started with anti-lock braking has evolved into robust safety features such as automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection.”
ADAS technologies support Continental’s Vision Zero, a world with zero fatalities, zero injuries, and zero crashes. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), ADAS systems could prevent up to 2.3 million crashes and save 12,000 lives each year. Continental is committed to continued growth and success with ADAS technologies, and the New Braunfels plant is a major step forward in this journey.