Continental embarks to implement Automated driving in stages starting this year. In the not-too-distant future by 2016, the group plans to develop and launch series production of solutions for partially automated systems. From a technological point of view, automated driving represents the evolution of driver assistance systems, which have already begun to emerge. Their systematic networking with driver information and drive systems is gradually advancing the concept toward its goal. From 2016, partially automated systems may therefore be assisting drivers in “stop & go” situations on the freeway at low speeds of up to 30 km/h. But this initial step toward automation does not relieve drivers of their responsibility to constantly pay attention to what is happening on the road. Fast forward to 2020, Continental hopes to evoke a highly automated driving reality. How it works…at speed above 30km/h highly automated driving will allow drivers to use the time they would ordinarily spend driving to carry out other activities, such as browsing the Net, checking on the stock exchange etc. With both levels of automation, however, the driver must be able to take control of the vehicle at all times. By 2025 when fully Automated driving comes about, everything is automatically taken care of.
In addition, a fully Automated vehicle will have full and independent control of driving up to 130 km/h. But when the vehicle reaches the desired exit, for example, the driver will have to take control, even with this high level of automation. When fully automated systems become available in 2025, they will still be limited to driving on the freeway. However, if the driver fails to respond to a demand to take control here, the vehicle will return to a safe state by itself, i.e. by braking and stopping on the hard shoulder.
Another perk of a fully Automated car is that it presents the driver with more freedom in terms of individual mobility. Drivers who take the same route to work every day, for example, will surely embrace the opportunity of having the vehicle take charge of this task. At the same time, the principle applies to monotonous and tiring long-distance journeys on freeways.
With suitable systems on board, drivers will in the future be able to decide whether to do the driving themselves or to let the vehicle take control. With the market launch of highly automated vehicles by 2020, drivers will be able to concentrate on other activities, such as reading the latest headlines on the Internet. This will give drivers much more freedom. Moreover, an automatically controlled vehicle will be even safer thanks to the increased interaction with itself and its environment. Furthermore, the energy management and driving characteristics of the vehicle will be optimized on the basis of a real-time data concept, thereby enabling more energy-efficient driving.
The driver assistance systems developed by Continental Automotive in present time consist of Adaptive Cruise Control, Emergency Brake Assistance, Infrared, and Radar in various driving situations.