In the run-up to the Frankfurt Motor Show IAA in September 2019, technology company Continental will be presenting numerous innovations that reflect the three major trends of the industry summit, all under the tagline of “Mobility is the Heartbeat of Life.” “Zero accidents, zero emissions and zero stress thanks to smart connectivity and convenience: this is what our pioneering technologies are helping to realize. Technology is our strength and is an area in which Continental has an outstanding level of expertise,” says Dr. Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the Continental Executive Board. In the past year alone, the company 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. Our aim is 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 major innovations relating to Continental’s automotive trend topics going into production for the first time. The technology company has been able to convince vehicle manufacturers in China and Europe of the performance of Continental’s electric axle drive. 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 with. The fully integrated axle drive thus reduces the weight of electric vehicles by around 20 kilograms.
Another production launch this year is a milestone in the development toward autonomous driving. The autonomous EZ10 shuttle bus from the French company EasyMile is the first to use a Continental radar system that has been 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 driving strategy, avoids obstructions and therefore prevents dangerous traffic situations on the route ahead at an early stage. Since such autonomous shuttle buses will be mainly used in an urban environment in future, this system protects pedestrians and cyclists in particular.
Furthermore, 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 vehicles talk to each other faster than ever before, with fewer interruptions. They can warn one other, for example, of accidents behind a bend or traffic jams ahead. Here, too, Continental is integrating previously separate functions, reducing the vehicle’s weight. This represents an important contribution to the environmental efficiency of vehicles and increased road safety.
One result of Continental research is intuitively designed operating systems. Simple communication between the driver and the vehicle with the aid of 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 easier and drivers do not have to take their eyes off the road. This increases attention to traffic, reduces the risk of accidents, and also lets the driver relax.
Another trend-setting concept is connected windows in the car. These can be specifically darkened, for example to avoid glare caused by a low sun. Furthermore, they reduce the energy required for cooling the vehicle interior and simply enhance occupant privacy.
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Source and photo credits: Continental