Today, more than one in two new vehicles in the world is connected, making connectivity is one of the major mobility drivers. At the Continental TechShow 2019 in Hanover, the brand focused on major research and development disciplines at Continental like smart sensor technology, artificial intelligence and systems integration. By 2026 alone, a further 50 million vehicles equipped with Continental telematics solutions will have taken to the roads. What is clear thus is that the car is undergoing the greatest technological transformation since its invention over 130 years ago. Smart communication has become a key discipline here. Vehicles use the cloud to communicate with other vehicles, the infrastructure, intelligent intersections and smart street lamps. What’s more, vehicles are increasingly communicating with their drivers – and they with their cars.
One smart solution is eHorizon from Continental, a feature that enables vehicles to better anticipate the road ahead. Thanks to coordinated sensor, data processing and assistance systems, the car knows exactly how fast to travel to ensure a safe yet speedy journey because it knows what to expect on the road ahead and the road surface conditions. eHorizon also processes the collected data in the cloud, including with the aid of artificial intelligence. Data packages containing all the relevant information are then sent to the vehicles traveling along that section of road.
The information provided by eHorizon is of fundamental importance for another innovation from Continental: PreviewESC, an additional braking function. As soon as eHorizon supplies data relating to the curve radius and friction coefficient, PreviewESC compares this with the current vehicle speed. If the vehicle is traveling too quickly to safely negotiate an upcoming bend, PreviewESC automatically applies the brakes to adjust the speed accordingly. Equally crucial for greater road safety is Continental’s smart intersection, which involves equipping hazardous traffic intersections with cameras, lidar, radar and other smart sensor components so that vehicles and the infrastructure can exchange data. Continental will be piloting these new technologies in real, inner-city traffic situations. Auburn Hills (Michigan, U.S.A) and Changsha (China) will form the network of Continental’s Smart City pilot locations. The intelligent street lamps developed by Continental will also play a key role here. They not only automatically regulate street lighting, but are also a valuable source of data for parking space management and traffic flow analysis. Intelligent street lamps can, for example, collect data on traffic density along the road and forward this to the intelligent intersection. The data can be used for controlling signal changes at traffic lights as well as reducing vehicle emissions and stoppage times at intersections.
Intuitively designed communication between driver and vehicle is also crucial. One of the biggest challenges today is developing new concepts for human–machine interaction. The best example of Continental’s systems expertise in this area is the natural 3D instrument cluster developed in cooperation with US company Leia. This cockpit concept based on innovative Lightfield technology brings the third dimension into the car in unprecedented quality. The 3D effect is visible anywhere inside the car without the need for additional equipment like 3D glasses. Information is displayed in a highly user-friendly and intuitive manner.