Continental demos wearable tech, phone app for pickup access and trailer control

For those of us prone to forgetting keys or key fobs, having the option to start a pickup with a belt buckle or ring sounds like a pretty good idea.

Continental introduced its wearable vehicle access technology Friday at the Texas State Fair. It marked the first time the company’s interior division appeared in the fair’s Truck Zone where it unveiled three unique technologies: Passive Start and Entry (PASE) for pickups; Intelligent PASE integration of the powered tailgate; and an innovative trailer module. Continental will be at the fair until Oct. 22.

“These three technology areas were developed to leverage existing technology in new ways,” said Michael Crane, vice president, Body and Security Systems, Continental North America. “The suite of solutions was developed by our engineers to address the challenge of how to make owning and operating a pick-up truck and/or trailer easier and more convenient for the consumer. We are excited to give the State Fair of Texas the first look at how we are meeting this challenge.”

The PASE for pick-up truck technology gives fair-goers a glimpse into how smartphones, discrete wearables, such as bracelets, rings, wristbands and even belt buckles, can be used to access and to start vehicles in the near future.

Intelligent PASE integration makes loading and unloading more convenient by making pick-up truck powered tailgates smarter. The solution features anti-pinch technology and allows the tailgate to be programmed to open upon arrival and close after the user reaches a certain distance from the truck.

The Innovative Trailer Module wirelessly communicates with the vehicle and a smartphone to control the power tongue jack and floodlights. Users are also able to perform electric brake connection, light verification, and conduct preventive maintenance by monitoring wheel hub temperature and tire pressure using a convenient smartphone interface. Filling Assistant LEDs near the wheel provide the status of each tire’s pressure.  The technology also deters theft with a trailer content alarm alerting the owner to unauthorized access or if the trailer is on the move by virtue of using the tire pressure monitoring sensors.

In addition to Continental’s technology debuts, HR reps will be onsite recruiting engineers to join the company’s growing team. Continental has approximately 1,600 employees and four facilities in Texas, including a ContiTech location in Houston, an automotive plant in Seguin, a tire facility in Uvalde and a warehouse in Grand Prairie.