Technology company Continental
presented the first set of driving test results for
the connected, dynamic electronic horizon (eHorizon). For vehicles it is
becoming increasingly important to know what lies ahead, and today’s traffic
reports and digital road maps are no longer enough. What is needed is much more
precise information about road characteristics such as gradients, curve radii,
temporary speed limits and other traffic signs, lane changes due to
construction work, and other important information. With its “dynamic
eHorizon”, Continental is offering a solution that can fulfil the information
requirements of vehicles.
“The Internet will not only
extend the selection of on-board infotainment, it will also directly improve
the vehicle. The principle behind this: the better the information base, the
safer, more efficient, and more comfortable the vehicle,” says Ralf Lenninger,
head of System Development, Innovation, and Strategy in Continental's Interior
division, adding that “In the future, vehicles will gather extremely accurate,
up-to-date, and reliable information about the road network in an “Internet of
cars”, and make this information immediately available to all road users.”
The potential for improvement already includes
current advanced driver assistance systems such as the adaptive cruise control,
efficiency optimisation of conventional and electrified drives, and will also
support the gradual approach towards automated driving. In the future, these
improvements will allow the electronic horizon to make an accurate assessment
of a route, stating whether highly or even fully automated driving is suitable
for the upcoming route, or whether the driver can only switch to partially
automated driving and must still remain responsible for the vehicle.
Continental is testing the
reliability of the dynamic eHorizon and its various applications in a series of
new demo vehicles. The vehicles are connected to Continental's backend platform
via a mobile radio module, allowing data exchange in both directions. The
on-board systems thereby constantly receive updated route and surroundings
information such as additional topographical data or temporary speed limits.
The connected vehicles can
also feedback information from their own sensors and on-board systems to the
cloud. In doing so, the vehicles make their own contribution to constantly
improving and updating the map material and the additional information.
Continental developers are using this “swarm” principle as a basis for numerous
One possible application has
been demonstrated by Continental's test vehicles. Through the use of cameras,
they detect variable speed limits and temporary traffic signs and report these
to the backend, where the information is verified and aggregated. If the
reliability of the information is confirmed, for example, by reports from
multiple vehicles, the system can then update the map in the backend and
transmit it to all connected vehicles in the affected area. This allows
tile-based map updates, which for instance are used for next generation
assistance functions. The high-resolution road map stored locally in the
vehicle will be supplemented as required by sections of a HD map that is stored
and continuously updated in the backend. The system therefore only ever
transmits the map section that is directly relevant to the current whereabouts
of the vehicle, keeping the transmission of mobile data traffic low but still
always updating the vehicle with the most recent map data.
Continental's new test
vehicles based on mid-range vehicles allow the functions described to be
demonstrated and tested in practice. The connection to the backend and the data
analysis carried out there can also be put to the test using the demo vehicles.
“The dynamic eHorizon allows Continental to
offer a solution with which vehicle manufacturers can perfect their advanced
driver assistance system options, future drive technologies, and traffic
concepts,” says Lenninger. “The high-performance backend system ensures that
all users of this technology benefit from the up-to-date and increasingly
detailed route data while also actively contributing to improving the accuracy
and data quality of this information.”
The data from the eHorizon
makes numerous vehicle functions possible or improves their performance. This
is why trucks have already been using the static eHorizon from Continental
since 2012. They use eHorizon data to adjust their engine power based on the
altitude profile of a route, which according to Continental estimates saves an
average of 1,500 liters of diesel per year. The eHorizon can also provide
useful information to hybrid vehicles with at least a 48-volt system, allowing
the drive system to be used as efficiently as possible. Fully electric vehicles
can use the information from the eHorizon in order to precisely calculate their
range in advance. Thanks to eHorizon, vehicles with adaptive cruise control can
adjust their speed for variable speed limits or curve radii, meaning that
drivers only need to steer. The eHorizon also enables functions such as the
Augmented Reality head-up display. The exact information on the course of the
road are being used to generate the augmentation effect and display for example
the navigation arrow in the head-up display as if it was painted directly on
the turning lane.
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