Software-Defined Vehicle

The software-defined vehicle is the next evolutionary step in the automotive industry

Coming generations of vehicles are increasingly characterized by software-enabled functions. Decoupling software from hardware enables rapid and continuous development and implementation of new functions and software updates throughout the vehicle's lifetime. Modern vehicles can contain more than 100 control units for driving safety, assistance, or comfort – also a variety of actuators and sensors such as cameras, radar, and lidar devices. To manage such complex systems, current vehicles already contain up to 150 million lines of code.

A look into the future shows clearly: the importance of software for vehicles will increase significantly. Modern driver assistance systems will soon enable automated and fully autonomous driving. Data processing with artificial intelligence plays a central role in this development. As vehicles become part of the Internet of Things (IoT) and transfer large amounts of data to and from the cloud, the software is needed to process, manage and distribute all this data. As drivers increasingly see the vehicle as an extension of their digital living space, the ever more extensive content in the infotainment of the vehicle cockpit must be implemented and managed.

With its Continental Automotive Edge (CAEdge) framework, Continental is providing a modular solution for this and, together with Amazon Web Services (AWS), is establishing a new approach for the efficient development of software for service-oriented vehicle architectures in the automotive industry. Thanks to this architecture, the software-based vehicle of the future will make it possible, among other things, to simply add some functions later as an update (Function as a Product). Furthermore, Continental is also offering the full integration of function applications. The vehicle manufacturer can choose from a full range of solutions from Continental’s functions catalog like Window Lifter, Software-Defined Radio, Motion Package for automated driving, or Remote Parking. With this Continental enables vehicle manufacturers to bring solutions faster to the market and to develop the software-defined vehicle in a more cost-efficient way. With the CAEdge framework, Continental is building a decisive cornerstone for this development. CAEdge is the ideal development environment for the software-centric and software-intensive vehicle of the future, providing a virtual workbench with flexible options for development, provision, and maintaining software-intensive system functions.


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Continental's High-Performance Computers (HPCs) and Zone Control Units (ZCU) are the basis of the software-defined vehicle. The powerfulHPCs form the computing backbone and provide the necessary computing power for the software functions in the vehicle. So vehicles can be further developed throughout their life cycle and become an integral part of their owners’ and users’ digital life. The ZCUs act as communication gateways, provide intelligent power distribution, and reliably execute vehicle functions.


The software-defined vehicle of the future will make it possible, among other things, to simply add some functions later as an update and to maintain or upgrade performance (Function as a Product). With the CAEdge framework, Continental is laying a decisive foundation for this development. In addition, a powerful cloud solution from Amazon Web Service (AWS) accelerates the development processes and meets the strictest security and compliance requirements of vehicle manufacturers.


The vehicle of the future offers a wide range of new software-based functions. Continental, therefore, keeps a sharp eye on cybersecurity throughout the entire lifecycle of a vehicle – from development to monitoring and updating systems to comply with the latest regulations around the world.

Partners & Cooperations

The software-defined vehicles are highly complex. Continental is therefore also working with partners to find the best solutions – for CAEdge with Amazon Web Services (AWS) or with Continental subsidiaries Elektrobit and Argus on the topic of automotive software and cybersecurity.

High Performance on board

High-Performance Computers in the vehicle process data from sensors and control units, while the Telematics Control Unit networks the vehicle with the environment and the cloud. This way the vehicle becomes part of the cloud and autonomous mobility is possible.

The CAEdge framework as a gamechanger

With the standardized and modular solution, Continental defines a new approach for the development of vehicle architectures and software. CAEdge is the optimal development environment for the software-centric and software-intensive vehicle of the future.

(Cyber)security comes first

The networking of vehicles increases their safety and comfort in traffic.  At the same time, the vehicle and its systems - some of which are safety-relevant - are becoming more vulnerable to external attacks. Continental has its own Cybersecurity Management System (CSMS) in order to address this.

Securely networked together

The Software-Defined Vehicle is a major task and a new challenge that always needs new approaches, skills, and impetus. Continental can also offer a holistic solution to complex problems because experts such as Elektrobit and Argus Cybersecurity are integrated into the development process.