Heading into the Future with All Senses
Modern vehicles offer a new experience of mobility. Continental provides them with the senses required to do so. Employees around the world are developing and producing innovative technologies that bring cars to life.
Always stay in balance
Abigail Rosales Vega lends vehicles a special ability. As a production worker at the Mexican location in Cuautla, she manufactures the control unit for an air suspension system called CAirS. “My work is the assembly of valves, sensors and diaphragms,” she says.
“Our team produces components that help improve mobility.” In fact, among other things, the compact system ensures that occupants notice less during driving. It sounds strange at first, but this is an important aspect of automated and autonomous driving, where the driver increasingly becomes like a passenger – and can, for example, spend time reading in the car. CAirS compensates for intrusive vehicle movements, creating a pleasant traveling feel.
Modern vehicles offer an entirely new experience of mobility. Continental provides them with the senses required to do so. Worldwide, employees are developing and producing innovative technologies that bring components to life. Air suspension systems are merely one example among many.
Cars can also see “spacially”
The successors to conventional vehicle cockpits, for example, have long offered a completely new visual dimension. One of these is the Natural 3D Centerstack Display from Continental.
This system recently received the German Innovation Award 2020, winning in the “Excellence in Business to Business” category.
The key innovation here is that three-dimensional objects, including roads, houses and even the faces of people in the phone book appear holographically. The driver presses the controls virtually in thin air. And no special glasses are required to do so.
Like a sense of touch? Buttons appear and disappear
Another technology has arisen almost from nowhere: so-called morphing controls, which won the “Excellent Product Design” category at the German Design Award 2020. As soon as a hand approaches the appropriate position in the cockpit, buttons emerge from the highly flexible surface. When the hand is withdrawn, the high-tech buttons disappear again. The car is thus able to sense when a person needs something from it and responds.
Sense of hearing: Vibrating surfaces and quiet soles turn the interior into an orchestra pit
Moreover, surfaces can also play music – like speakers. They even replace them. Together with Sennheiser, Continental has developed a technology referred to as the Ac2ated sound system. It makes the surfaces in the car vibrate, practically like the strings of a guitar. The entire interior becomes an instrument. The advantage is that the car is up to 40 kg lighter without speakers and the corresponding cables. It thereby consumes less energy, protecting the environment.
The experts from Tires contribute toward listening enjoyment by significantly reducing the intrusive rolling noise of the tires.
This is ensured by ContiSilent technology: A special foam is attached under the tread on the inside of the tire. The pores in the foam dampen the vibrations transmitted to the vehicle interior from the chassis, silencing the noise directly at its point of origin. Meanwhile, the researchers from the NVH (Noise, Vibration and Harshness) department are examining the complex wheel/tire system using modern methods such as 3D laser scanning. Their objective is to further develop Continental’s tires as a buffer against rolling noise to further enhance driving pleasure.
Smells arouse feelings: A fragrance of tea and flowers
Meanwhile, Yue Zhong Wang lends cars a special touch at the Changzhou plant in China. “Our innovation offers a unique scent experience,” says the 33-year-old machine operator. It ensures that surfaces in cars for the Chinese market have a fragrance of tea, flowers, or oranges. The background here is that one in ten drivers in China complains about the smell of their new car. Continental has now developed an effective solution.
Continental is rethinking mobility in many different ways. The result of this is vehicles that are increasingly responsive to people. They have their own senses – brought to life by our employees.