Continental Automotive Launches Driver-Assistance Solutions

FRANKFURT, Germany, and GENEVA /PRNewswire/ -- The Automotive Systems Division of Continental AG, the international automotive industry supplier, is planning to launch a series of innovative driver-assistance systems with crucial safety functions. 2007 will see the introduction of a lane-keeping support system that will use the signals from a camera to alert the driver if he or she should unintentionally leave the lane. In 2008, a driver-assistance system will analyze the vehicle's immediate surroundings and prevent rear-end collisions even at low speeds. New radar sensors for even better proximity control and the introduction of a new generation of camera sensors for road sign recognition are planned for 2009. Camera and radar sensors will also be interlinked as part of a joint development project between Continental Automotive Systems and a major vehicle manufacturer, the aim being to produce a system that will make a significant contribution to reducing rear-end collisions.

Lane Departure Warning with Sensory Alarm: Always Keep in the Lane
Over-tiredness or lack of concentration at the wheel can lead to the vehicle inadvertently leaving the traffic lane or wandering off the road. The consequences of such an accident are often very serious. The Lane Departure Warning (LDW) camera passes precise information about the immediate area ahead to an electronic unit, thus providing wide-ranging protection against this danger. If the system detects that lane markings have been crossed, and if no turn indicator has been activated to signal the intention to turn, then the steering wheel or driver's seat will gently vibrate. The camera-based system looks far ahead, leaving sufficient time to make a steering correction. LDW will be installed for the first time in 2007 in a European manufacturer's vehicle.

Closing Velocity Sensor: Greater Protection Against Rear-End Collisions
Many rear-end collisions happen in dense urban traffic. Continental Automotive Systems has developed the infrared-based closing-velocity (CV) sensor that monitors what is happening directly in front of the vehicle. This information can be used to brake the vehicle automatically at low speeds if—when turning off, for example—the driver fails to notice that the vehicle in front suddenly stops or slows down. The CV sensor, which will make its first appearance in a European vehicle in 2008, represents an inexpensive step toward interlinking active and passive safety systems. The system functions independently of other sensing systems; it does not have to be linked to adaptive cruise control (ACC) and can be adapted to further performance requirements at an acceptable cost.

Radar Sensors: More Precise Analysis of the Vehicle's Immediate Surroundings for Even Smoother ACC
As the pioneer of radar-based ACC, Continental Automotive Systems has been continuously developing the technology. The full-speed range ACC for proximity-based cruise control in the 0-210 km/h range is the most recent development. An international vehicle manufacturer has now commissioned the company to develop a system offering even higher performance. When production starts in 2009, the system will be able to determine the precise position of the roadside and categorize any objects it perceives, allowing smooth and seamless system interventions.

Camera Sensor: Road Sign Recognition and Data for Intelligent Light Systems
While the first camera-based driver assistance systems are going into series production, Continental Automotive Systems will be driving the technology forward. In 2009, there will be a series-production-ready system capable of supplying a range of valuable data by precision recording of the vehicle's wider surroundings as well. This will allow the implementation of intelligent light systems, which will be able to provide optimum road illumination for different driving conditions (urban and country roads, freeways, fog, continuous nose-to-tail traffic, cornering, turning off). The camera and image-editing electronics are also sufficiently high-performance so that LDW systems can be supported and road signs recognized.

Interlinked Camera and Radar: A Composite Sensor for Optimum System Networking
In conjunction with a major vehicle manufacturer, Continental Automotive Systems is developing production readiness for a driver-assistance system that will monitor the vehicle's surroundings with camera and radar sensors.

Interlinking these technologies will allow situations fraught with potential danger to be clearly identified and for appropriate responses to be made. The introduction and networking of safety functionalities—such as pre-tensioning safety belts, repositioning seats further forward, closing side windows, and pre-charging brakes or partial braking—can the take place automatically. These safe systems will also permit full-automatic emergency braking. "At present, automatic braking is only allowed at just 40% of the potential braking power. But with this system, we are gaining experience that will benefit both our customers and their customers whenever full automatic emergency braking is permitted by law," announced Michael Schamberger, Head of the Driver Assistance Systems Business Center.

Dr. Karl-Thomas Neumann, Chairman of the Continental Automotive Systems board and member of the Continental AG Board of Management, explained: "We concentrated our attention at an early stage on the subject of perceiving vehicle surroundings with different technologies and have now gained so much know-how that we are setting the pace for the global competition as regards driver-assistance systems. Our acquisition of Motorola's telematics division has strengthened this position because in the future such systems will be decisively optimized by mutual communication both between vehicles and between vehicles and the road infrastructure."

The Continental Corp. is a leading automotive supplier of brake systems, chassis components, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers. In 2006 the corporation realized sales of euro 14.9 billion. At present it has a worldwide workforce of around 85,000.

As a worldwide leading technology partner to the automotive industry, the Automotive Systems Division of Continental AG integrates extensive know-how and uncompromising quality in the fields of driving safety, embedded telematics and hands-free communication systems, powertrain, and comfort. In 2006 the division achieved sales of approximately euro 6 billion with a workforce of more than 30,000. Continental Automotive Systems develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brakes, stability and chassis control systems, electronic air suspension systems, sensors, engine management and transmission control systems, hybrid drives, cooling fan modules, body and security electronics, and is an industry leader of embedded telematics and communication systems in vehicles.

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