Continental expect partially automated driving to start in 2016 (Photo: Continental)

FRANKFURT ”“ Continental and IBM will jointly develop connected-vehicle technologies for the auto industry. The two companies announced their joint plans at a press conference at the Frankfurt auto show (IAA) Tuesday.

"Step-by-step development of future mobility is highly complex and requires strong partnerships with global IT industry players," said Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart.

Degenhart, who runs one of the world's biggest automotive supplier groups, said IBM will bring to the cooperation its proven expertise in big data and cloud computing, which he said is needed to quickly analyze the vast quantities of data that has to be processed while a car is in motion. The partnership will help build "highly secure" and robust automotive connectivity systems, Degenhart said.

The two companies plan to build a scalable cloud platform that will let automakers deliver a range of new mobile in-car services. Software updates can be delivered over the internet. And the two partners plan to develop a so-called "electronic horizon" platform, which will be a step in the direction of automated driving.

IBM's global automotive leader, Dirk Wollschlaeger, said the cooperation "will accelerate the convergence of automotive and IT industries." And he added that it will let carmakers integrate multimedia services, infotainment and traffic flow management.