11 September 2013

·    Continental’s ASL360, designed specifically for trucks, special and small series vehicles, has already established itself as a way to capture a 360-degree surround detection of what is happening all around a vehicle

·    Scalable surround view systems will be able to generate 3D views, recognize objects and realize driver assistance functions

Frankfurt am Main, Germany, September 10, 2013. Today’s camera systems often monitor only the area in front of a vehicle. Although that helps to prevent many accidents, it by no means is capable of preventing every single one of them. “The next step towards accident-free driving is going to be 360-degree surround detection that monitors not only the area in front of, or behind a vehicle, but also all around it”, said Wolfgang Fey, head of the Surround View segment at international automotive supplier Continental. “The development of intelligent surround view systems for cars will also represent a major contribution to automated driving”.

In January, Continental announced the acquisition of British specialist ASL Vision, which was integrated as the ‘Surround View’ segment into the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Business Unit of the Chassis & Safety Division. “Continental and ASL Vision can draw from long years of development in the field of complex vehicle cameras”, said Fey who is also joint Managing Director of ASL Vision.

ASL360 – a surround view system conceived for trucks, special and small series vehicles

Solutions by ASL Vision are already doing duty in more than three million vehicles throughout the world. The ASL360, specially developed for trucks, busses and special vehicles such as for mining, has been poised for production for years. The product is also available for cars and does duty primarily in small series vehicles.

The system consists of four fisheye cameras, each of which is capable of capturing more than 185 degree of the horizontal field of view. An electronic control unit (ECU) blends the four views into one image on a display in the cockpit. The display enables drivers to park and maneuver safely at low speeds. Image stitching – the merging and joining of various individual images – permits calculation and display of the vehicle‘s position from a variety of angles. Images from a single camera are also possible for keeping an eye on critical areas when maneuvering.

Surround view systems will provide 3D views, recognize objects and realize driver assistance functions

Whereas ASL360 provides drivers with two-dimensional images, future surround view systems will be able to furnish 3D views. Moreover, the systems will be able to recognize objects and will be capable of realizing driver assistance functions. Four cameras typically do duty in such systems. Other cameras may be added, depending on the specifications of individual automobile manufacturers. The first 3D surround view system is planned to go into production in 2016.

Several types of scalable systems are in development so that surround view can be offered in different vehicle segments. The basic version offers a pure 360-degree 3D image to assist in parking and maneuvering at low speeds. In contrast to existing systems, however, it employs only two cameras: one in front mounted in the grill and one in the rear mounted near the license plate. This entry-level system is especially suited for use in the compact-car segment due to its attractive pricing.

Still other levels will be available, all the way up to an intelligent, active surround view system. Consisting of four cameras – in front, in the rear and on the outside rearview mirrors – it can not only monitor the area all around the vehicle but also recognize pedestrians, warn the driver or even stop the vehicle in critical situations. The system is particularly suited to city driving because, for example, it is able to recognize nearby pedestrians early. It is also capable of recognizing crossing traffic, lane detection and even detecting curbstones. This premium version of the surround view system will even permit vehicles to park themselves automatically, even if there is no driver inside.

With sales of €32.7 billion in 2012, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has almost 175,000 employees in 46 countries.

The Automotive Group with its three divisions Chassis & Safety (sales of approximately €7.0 billion in 2012, 34,500 employees), Powertrain (sales of approximately €6.1 billion in 2012, 31,000 employees) and Interior (sales of approximately €6.4 billion in 2012, 33,000 employees) achieved sales of approximately €19.5 billion in 2012. The Automotive Group is present in more than 170 locations worldwide. As a partner of the automotive and commercial vehicle industry, it develops and produces innovative products and systems for a modern automotive future, in which cars provide individual mobility and driving pleasure consistent with driving safety, environmental responsibility and cost-efficiency.

The Chassis & Safety Division develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems, sensors, driver assistance systems, airbag electronics and -sensorics, washer systems and electronic air suspension systems. Its core competence is the integration of active and passive driving safety into ContiGuard. The Powertrain Division integrates innovative and efficient system solutions for vehicle powertrains. The comprehensive range of products includes gasoline and diesel injection systems, engine management, transmission control, including sensors and actuators, as well as fuel-supply systems and components and systems for hybrid and electric drives. Information management is at the very heart of the Interior Division, which provides a range of products that includes instrument clusters and multifunctional displays, control units, electronic car-entry systems, tire-monitoring systems, radios, multimedia and navigation systems, climate control systems, telematics solutions and cockpit modules and systems.