Q & A With Keynote Jeff Klei, Continental North America

As President of Continental North America, Jeff Klei is responsible for customer, governmental and other external relationships in the region. He has retained his current responsibilities as Vice President of Sales, General Motors Worldwide – a position to which he was appointed in July 2006. Additionally, he was elected Corporate Vice President, Continental Teves, Inc. in January 2000, and serves as a legal representative for the company. Join us at the 2019 ITS America Annual Meeting for Jeff’s Wednesday morning keynote.

It’s 2025. What is your vision of the next steps in connectivity and advancement of V2X technologies?  

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Connectivity and V2X technology are critical to the foundation upon which automated driving is built. Having the ability to connect vehicles not only with one another, but also infrastructure, the cloud and other connected devices can help make roads safer for vehicles and pedestrians. The exchange of real-time traffic updates and road hazard information gives drivers a more holistic view of their complex surroundings.

When deploying V2X on a global scale, especially as we lead up to 2025, vehicle manufacturers have a big challenge to overcome: Some regions prefer the established Dedicated Short Range Communication DSRC and others lean towards the upcoming Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) standard. Continental’s Hybrid V2X solution integrates technologies for 4G and 5G network access, DSRC and C-V2X communication. With our hybrid V2X solution, the same hardware and software platform can be used to support either communication standard, reducing cost and complexity for a global application of V2X communication.

The technologies for a safer road experience exist today, and ITS America strongly believes they should be deployed. What are the steps that need to be taken to get consensus from different private and public agency stakeholders?

Continental also believes that technologies exist that could help us save lives today. One of the biggest hurdles is making consumers aware and comfortable with these technologies – many of which are automated or in some way support automated functions. When it comes to automated technologies, consumer sentiment shows a lack of trust. In fact, 77 percent of respondents surveyed for Continental’s Mobility Study stated they don’t believe automated technologies will function reliably – that’s up from 50 percent five years ago.

Stakeholders – automakers, suppliers, policymakers and industry advocates – have a responsibility to educate the public on these technologies and their lifesaving potential. Safety can and should be accessible to everyone, not just those who purchase premium segment vehicles where we so often see new technologies deployed.

As we enter a third year with approximately 40,000 traffic fatalities according to the National Safety Council, we truly don’t have any time to spare. We, as the collective mobility industry, have the research, technology and expertise to make our roads safer today, and we need to work together to achieve this.

How do you think the manufacturing industry can speed the development of greener technologies? Is it more than improving the measurement of fuel consumption and emissions?  

More “obvious” solutions to efficiency like electrification and light weighting, for example, are important in the preservation and protection of our environment – a priority for Continental. However, there are also other, less obvious technologies that can improve vehicle efficiency and support emissions reduction.

Smarter vehicles and infrastructure can contribute to more efficient driving, so V2X technologies can help us move toward our green goals. For example, Continental’s Intelligent Intersection technology can contribute to improved traffic flow, adapting the traffic lights to traffic patterns which change throughout the day. This can enable vehicles to operate more efficiently, maximizing fuel efficiency and reducing vehicle emissions.

What benefits will the initial deployment of autonomous vehicles will bring to society?

Automation will bring many changes to the driving experience. Immediate advantages will include increased safety, more comfort, more convenience and more efficiency – benefits we’re already beginning to experience as more advanced driver assistance systems become available on vehicles.

As mobility becomes more automated and autonomous, we can expect those benefits to increase and help us all get closer to Vision Zero: zero fatalities, zero injuries and, ultimately, zero crashes.



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