Continental promotes the development and use of open source software. The technology company has adopted a manifesto that emphasizes its commitment to collaborative work with Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). Open source software are programs whose source code is open and accessible. Corresponding software can be used, analyzed, modified and distributed by all users in compliance with the respective license provisions. The use of open source software can significantly save development costs and offers security and transparency for all users, since weaknesses and security gaps can be quickly identified and eliminated through cooperation.
Continental has been working with open source software for some time. The “Continental Automotive FOSS Manifesto” – PDF (3.95MB) now underlines the growing importance of open source software for the automotive industry. “Open source software is essential for shaping tomorrow’s mobility,” explains Gilles Mabire, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Automotive at Continental. “Future-oriented companies rely on cooperation in the development of basic software modules. Continental is an active member of the global automotive community working on critical open software projects. This is the only way we will be able to master the major technological challenges for sustainable and modern mobility together.“
In the “Continental Automotive FOSS Manifesto”, Continental commits to 1.) include all aspects of the development and use of free and open source software in its day-to-day business, 2.) contribute to open source communities as a trustworthy partner and 3.) as a reliable Software-driven company to always put the satisfaction of customers and employees at the center of any commitment. The manifesto goes hand in hand with Continental’s fundamental corporate values: trust, freedom to act, for one another and a winner mentality.
About 20,000 Continental specialists work with FOSS
In concrete terms, this means that every employee is required to pursue the safe and responsible development and use of open source software. The employees in software development projects are active members in the relevant open source communities and are always looking for high-quality solutions for the FOSS community and for Continental. As good “open-source citizens” they act responsibly, respectfully, and of course in compliance with all legal regulations.
Open source software is used today in crucial developments in the automotive industry. It usually forms the basis for extended software solutions that technology companies like Continental use to implement their individual, customer-tailored innovations and shape the future of mobility. When developing driver assistance systems, for example, open source software offers the necessary basic or middleware software into which new, exclusively programmed functionalities can be integrated according to customer requirements. As a consequence, internal know-how can be used to advance significant automotive innovations.
Continental employs around 20,000 engineers worldwide with a deep understanding of software and IT. These include around 1,000 experts in artificial intelligence. Everyone is already working with open source software, contributing to IT developments themselves via corresponding data exchange platforms in the FOSS organizations or benefiting from the software packages offered there. The basic requirement is the disclosure of the source code of software, which is the key to using and further developing a software application. These source texts are available, for example, on software platforms such as GitHub, an open programming platform on which employees from different companies work together on software solutions.
Continental is already a member of key large-scale projects and organizations for the development and distribution of open-source software, such as the Eclipse Foundation, Linux Foundation, OSADL (Open Source Automation Development Lab) and GAIA-X, where it actively contributes to open source software at. The FOSS manifesto that has now been adopted represents the commitment to intensified commitment to FOSS-driven mobility developments.