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Dandelion Tires; Wires from Soy

Automakers search for natural and recycled alternatives to rubber, plastic, even leather.

by on Jun.07, 2016

A prototype tire from Continental that uses dandelion-based Taraxa Gum instead of a rubber tread.

They may be a nuisance for gardeners, but dandelions can find a place in salads and even can be made into wine. Now, what many consider a noxious weed could find an even more useful application: as a replacement for natural rubber.

German supplier Continental Tire hopes to put the synthetic material, known as taraxa gum, into production “in five to 10 years” as an alternative to conventional rubber tire treads. And industry researchers are developing other natural and recycled alternatives that are replacing wire insulation, plastic panels, carpets and even leather and suede.

Green News Now!

Some of these environmentally friendly substitutes aren’t entirely new, however. Henry Ford was tinkering with soy-based compounds and recycling wood a full century ago. And, like then, researchers find some of these seeming solutions can create unexpected problems of their own.

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Airbag Control Module Defect Forcing Seven Makers to Recall 5 Mil Vehicles

Problem could prevent airbag deployment in crash – or trigger inflation accidentally.

by on Feb.04, 2016

The 2008 Honda Accord is one of the vehicles affected by a recall due to faulty airbag controllers.

A total of 5 million vehicles will be recalled due to a defective airbag control module that could accidentally trigger one of the devices – or prevent an airbag from deploying in the event of a crash.

The announcement by German supplier Continental comes less than a day after one of its customers, Honda Motor Co., issued a recall covering 341,000 Accord sedans. Separately, the Japanese maker also announced it was recalling 2.23 million Honda and Acura vehicles due to faulty Takata airbags.

Safety News!

Widely hailed as one of the most significant safety devices since the introduction of the seatbelt, airbags have become the source of some of the biggest recalls in recent years. The Takata problem alone is now affecting more than 20 million vehicles in the U.S.

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Continental Ups the Autonomous Car Ante

Supplier hires Google exec for smart car company.

by on Aug.18, 2014

Continental hired former Google exec, Seval Oz, to oversee its new intelligent transportation systems company in Silicon Valley.

The race is on to be first to market with a fully autonomous vehicle. Right now, automakers like Nissan, General Motors and Mercedes-Benz are being challenged by high-tech upstart Google, which plans to launch a fleet of autonomous prototypes later this year.

One of the key figures in Google’s self driving program has been poached by German auto supplier, which itself hopes to become a leader in autonomous technology. German auto supplier Continental is going all in on intelligent driving systems by forming a new company, Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems LLC, located in Silicon Valley.

Auto Insight!

Continental, which supplies driver assistance technology, such as blind-spot detection, hired Seval Oz to be CEO of the new company. Oz previously served as Senior Business Development manager at Google, where she was integral in the development of the self-driving car. (more…)

Steering Out of Trouble

With market showing signs of recovery, Continental rolling out new safety systems, including Emergency Steer Assist.

by on Jun.17, 2010

Continental's next-generation safety technology, ESA, could help you steer out of trouble.

The US auto market is finally bouncing back – at least in the eyes of Samir Salman, CEO of Continental’s North American Automotive operations.  And that could be good news for suppliers hoping to find a market for next-generation safety technology, he says.

“We initially thought the rebound that we’re seeing now might have taken three to four years,” Salman said, “but the current 11.5-million unit production level is encouraging.”

While discussing new technologies that Continental has ready for production, Salman said that he expects the rebound to continue into 2011 with 12.5 – 13 million units produced.

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Insight!

“Compared to 2009 sales of 8.5 million, things are looking pretty good, but we’ve got a long way to go. We expect that sustainable sales of 15 – 16 million units are possible in the next three to five years.”

TheDetroitBureau.com had the opportunity to speak with Salman as Continental showed American and European journalists new safety-related products from three of the supplier’s divisions; Chassis and Safety, Powertrain and Interior. (Continental’s tire operations, the highest-grossing in the group, were not included.)

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