The car drives and navigates the vast majority of the trip from the countryside to the city by itself. The driver can relax, but is ready to take the wheel if necessary. This is the case if, for example, the vehicle wants to leave the highway in the direction of the city center. The car then indicates by a message that the route ahead is only suitable for manual driving. If the driver ignored the messages, the car would automatically drive to a safe place, for example the emergency lane. Mobility could hardly be safer or smarter.
Automated driving will revolutionize our daily lives. “Your car, which can drive itself on your request, is the ultimate day-to-day companion,” assures Ralph Lauxmann, senior vice president of AMS Strategy & Future Solutions. “Drivers spend an average of 37,668 hours behind the wheel during their lifetime,” he calculates, “just think of all the useful things they could be doing in that time!”
For many years, Continental has been pressing ahead with numerous research activities. Sensors, sensor systems, on-board computers, operating systems and software are being developed at locations in Japan, China, Singapore, the U.S., and Germany. According to estimates, the global market for assisted and automated driving technologies doubles in size roughly every five years and will reach around 30 billion euros by the year 2025. In 2018 and 2019 alone, Continental received orders totaling some 3 billion euros on average.
Currently, the “Cruising Chauffeur” is being tested. This “level-3” autopilot according to the customary designation for automatic systems is being tested around the world under real traffic conditions. “Highly automated vehicles are expected to support us on monotonous routes and those that are virtually always perceived as being burdensome by 2030. In addition to long distances on freeways and country roads, such situations also occur when searching for a parking space in the city center,” says Lauxmann. To ensure that the self-driving cars equipped with Continental systems can master all traffic situations, the prototypes still have many millions of test miles to cover and simulations to undergo. “The challenges in the urban environment in particular are manifold,” says Dr. Andree Hohm, head of the Autonomous Driving program. “Roads, sidewalks, pedestrian crossings, traffic signs and traffic lights need to be detected, for example, and the movements of pedestrians, cyclists and cars predicted and interpreted.”
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