Continental Brings IAA Trend Technologies into Production
In the past year alone, Continental has invested more than €3 billion in research and development for the next generation of mobility. A significant proportion of this amount will go toward technologies for new in-vehicle functions.
“With our investments in research and development, we are significantly shaping the greatest upheaval in the automotive industry since its birth and are doing so from a leading position,” continues Degenhart, adding, “Our alternative drive systems and Continental technologies for automated and autonomous driving, as well as for the connected car, are the key ingredients for a healthy mobility ecosystem. We aim to develop new technologies that are both environmentally efficient and socially accepted. In this way, we intend to protect not only the ecological climate but the economic and social ones as well.”
Millions of vehicles are already on the move today with Continental technology. This year will still see significant innovations relating to Continental’s automotive trend topics going into production for the first time.
The technology company has convinced vehicle manufacturers in China and Europe of Continental’s electric axle drive performance. The module weighs less than 80 kilograms and includes an electric motor, transmission, power electronics, and motor control. Thanks to the integration, numerous cable connections and plugs can be dispensed. The fully integrated axle drive thus reduces the weight of electric vehicles by around 20 kilograms.
Further Production Successes
Another production launch this year is a milestone in the development of autonomous driving. The autonomous EZ10 shuttle bus from the French company EasyMile is the first to use a Continental radar system specially developed for driverless vehicles and is ready for production.
A total of seven radar sensors, each with a range of up to 200 meters, continuously monitor the vehicle environment. With this data, the system adapts its ambitious strategy, avoids obstructions and prevents dangerous traffic situations early in the route. Since such autonomous shuttle buses will be mainly used in an urban environments in future, this system protects pedestrians and cyclists in particular.
Furthermore, the development of Continental’s first worldwide 5G solution for a vehicle manufacturer is already underway. On this new platform, Continental’s connectivity experts are combining the features of fifth-generation cellular communications with technologies for short-distance radio for direct data exchange between different vehicles and the infrastructure. The cars talk faster than ever before, with fewer interruptions. For example, they can warn one other of accidents behind a bend or traffic jams ahead.
Reducing the Vehicle’s Weight
Also, Continental is integrating previously separate functions, reducing the vehicle’s weight. This represents an essential contribution to the environmental efficiency of cars and increased road safety.
In the Development Phase: Language Assistants with a Natural Speech in the Car
One result of Continental research is intuitively designed operating systems. Simple communication between the driver and the vehicle with an intelligent voice-activated digital companion and three-dimensional displays increases the acceptance of new vehicle technologies.
Continental is working on an adaptive voice-activated digital companion that reacts to natural speech and is precisely adapted to vehicle conditions. This makes operation more accessible, and drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road. This increases attention to traffic, reduces the risk of accidents, and lets the driver relax.
Another trend-setting concept is connected to windows in the car. These can be individually darkened, for example, to avoid glare caused by a low sun. Furthermore, they reduce the energy required for cooling the vehicle interior and enhance occupant privacy.
Smart Intersections in the Smart City
In pilot cities in North America and Asia, Continental is currently exploring the possibilities presented by more excellent connectivity between all road users. This project has transformed ordinary traffic intersections into brilliant test fields equipped with intelligent sensor technology.
Traffic lights and streetlights equipped with sensors exchange data with vehicles in the vicinity to protect pedestrians and cyclists. This technology can, for instance, warn a driver of concealed pedestrians or other more vulnerable road users when turning left.
Traffic data from street lamps can ultimately reduce emissions: signal changes at traffic lights can be controlled in such a way as to optimise traffic flow and reduce stationary time at intersections.
Performance, Efficiency, Driving Enjoyment
In the run-up to the IAA, Continental is demonstrating its unique systems expertise in electrical drives by showcasing more exciting innovations.
In addition to the fully integrated high-voltage axle drive for large-scale production, the company has developed a new technology for hybrid vehicles. The 48-volt high-power drive system with 30 kilowatts of output means it can drive even long distances purely with electric power for the first time.
High-Voltage Drive Systems
Previously, this was only possible using high-voltage drive systems – but not with 48-volt technology. Vehicle manufacturers can now offer new, attractively priced hybrid vehicles worldwide.
More Excellent Safety, Greater Convenience, More Excellent Connectivity
Continental is setting technological milestones in electric drives and the development of autonomous driving, a second major trend at this year’s IAA.
This goes hand in hand with the gradual realisation of “Vision Zero” – the goal of zero-accident mobility. Robust in-vehicle sensors form the basis for this technology. Continental combines new radar and camera sensors with intelligent data processing in the cloud, which supports improved functions for assistance systems.
For example, Continental is introducing a predictive stability control system that warns the driver before a curve in the road if the vehicle is travelling too fast for the current road conditions and automatically brakes, if necessary, to adjust the vehicle’s speed. This also ensures excellent safety and convenience.
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