Continental has announced today the successful completion of the acquisition of Kathrein Automotive GmbH after the deal was ratified by regulatory authorities. Through acquisition of the automotive division of the antenna and satellite technology manufacturer Kathrein, Continental will be able to further expand its expertise in this area. Intelligent vehicle antennas are expected to serve as a starting point for future-proof connectivity concepts.
Potential applications for such antennas range from remote access keys and navigation applications to telematics solutions. A connected vehicle can have over 22 installed antennas. By leveraging the expertise of Kathrein Automotive expertise, Continental can now offer a diverse range of products which ranges from from rod antennas to the Intelligent Antenna Module. The Intelligent Antenna Module performs functions like the integration of several V2X technologies, like the global 5G Hybrid V2X solution, which facilitates communication through the cellular network as well as rapid, reliable direct data transfer. Continental has recently won its first customer project for this flexible 5G hybrid platform.
Commenting on the acquisition, Johann Hiebl, head of the Body & Security and Infotainment & Connectivity business units at Continental said that having the entire workforce of Kathrein Automotive on board will prove to be an asset as the company has over 1,000 employees who will serve as an invaluable pool of experience and expertise in the field of vehicle connectivity. Continental will now be able to deepen the level of cooperation within its cross-divisional R&D teams.
“We will take immediate steps to work even harder on driving forward the development of high-performance connectivity solutions for intelligent mobility,” Hiebl said.
Continental is incorporating all Kathrein Automotive employees at all the eight locations in Brazil, China, Germany, Mexico, Portugal and the United States. The financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
With the finalization of the acquisition, Continental will now emerge as a key player in the growing vehicle antenna market. Analysts like Radiant Insights have projected that this market will grow by about 6.5 percent on an annual basis in the period from now to 2022.
Continental and Kathrein have already collaborated on bringing two connectivity solutions to market: the Intelligent Antenna Module and the multifunctional Smart Device Terminal. The Intelligent Antenna Module can be used to replace the single antennas by integrating antennas and the accompanying electronics into one hardware module. This makes wiring a lot easier, reduces installation space, and also improves signal quality. The multifunctional Smart Device Terminal meanwhile makes it possible for motorists to seamlessly integrate their digital lifestyles into their vehicles as they can use it to connect their mobile devices to their vehicles.
Continental is continuously developing the Intelligent Antenna Module. Two of the innovations that Continental showcased at the recent CES show in Las Vegas were its ultra-flat design and its improved performance. The technology has a new, space-saving design which is based on a method developed by Kathrein of integrating antenna structures into the module’s printed circuit board. This new method makes the previous shark fin antenna design obsolete so that installation space is even less. In terms of performance, the latest variant of the Intelligent Antenna Module is 5G-ready and has a 4×4 multiple input/multiple output, enabling simultaneous data transfer through multiple transmitter and receiver channels. The module is already delivering maximum data rates and ranges for all wireless services.
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