With a growing world population and trends towards urbanization, the risks of transport systems reaching their limits and of accidents is increasing. At Continental’s TechShow 2019 in Hanover, Frank Jourdan, Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG and Head of the Chassis & Safety Division spoke about Vision Zero – a world without road fatalities, injuries, and ultimately no accidents, with an approach focusing on more safety through smarter technology.
Among the innovations that support drivers and increase safety is a new generation of short-range radar with 77 gigahertz technology that captures the vehicle’s surroundings at a much higher resolution than before. This makes it possible to implement a right-turn assist that supports the driver in confusing situations. If scooters, cyclists, or pedestrians approach from the rear right, the short-range radar detects the danger. If the driver fails to respond to a warning, the radar forwards a corresponding signal to the brake and the car stops before an accident occurs. The system is already doing what Euro NCAP scenarios from 2022 require: further improving protection for pedestrians, scooters, and cyclists.
Two more contributions to Vision Zero are the eHorizon virtual sensor and PreviewESC. The eHorizon is a core component of Vehicle-to-X communication, processing data sent from vehicles or other sources to the Continental.cloud – data such as road conditions, rainfall, or temperature. The eHorizon sends the evaluated data back to the vehicles, where it is used among other things for the PreviewESC, an additional electronic stability control function developed by Continental. This system compares the processed data with the actual driving situation and warns the driver if necessary. Depending on the configuration, PreviewESC could also automatically trigger a braking pulse to ensure driving safety and stability.
Continental is taking the next step towards automated and autonomous driving with the Road AND Driver camera, a combination of a front and an interior camera located behind the vehicle’s windshield above the rear-view mirror. With a broad portfolio of camera systems, Continental offers various options for implementing this type of function based on customer requirements. While the front camera is directed to the front of the road as usual and provides data for driver assistance systems, another camera looks into the interior to keep an eye on the driver. This kind of system is considered a basic prerequisite for getting vehicles with an automated driving function onto the road. Only if the change between automated and manual driving modes can take place safely and reliably can automated driving be implemented at all. The driver must be able to rely on the fact that the vehicle only gives her driving responsibility when she is ready for it.
The CUbE development platform demonstrates how Continental technologies – including ABS, radar, and a redundant brake system – make autonomous driving reliable and safe. Technologies for driverless robo-taxis are undergoing continuous development at several Continental research centers in Europe, North America, and Asia.
Continental not only makes ever more intelligent vehicles possible, but is also working towards the corresponding smart infrastructure. In Smart City pilots in Auburn Hills, Michigan/USA and Changsha, China, Continental is retrofitting inner-city traffic hubs with smart sensors to create intelligent intersections. Here, for example, intelligent intersections and intelligent street lamps exchange data with nearby vehicles via Dedicated Short-Range Communication (DSRC) or Cellular-V2X (C-V2X) to protect more vulnerable road users such as pedestrians and avoid collisions. This also brings Continental a step closer to its goal of Vision Zero – road traffic without accidents.