More and more people are
flocking to cities. According to a 2014 UN study, two-thirds of the world’s
population will be living in cities by 2050 – and they will also be driving
their cars there. However, it would perhaps be more accurate to say that
they’ll be trying to drive their cars there, because global traffic jam
statistics tell us that individual “mobility” in cities will be severely
The current average speed in
London, for example, was only 7.8 miles per hour in 2016. Accidents, emissions,
loss of time, notorious parking problems and stress are the ever-present consequences
of this concentration of traffic in urban areas – and in view of the fact that
the world’s megacities are growing, this is one of the reasons why future
mobility is radically evolving. The technology company Continental is using its
corporate expertise in automation, new mobility concepts, and electrification
to develop solutions for the urban transport of the future and for a better
quality of life in cities.
“The future of individual
mobility in cities is autonomous and electric, and it will become part of the
shared economy,” says Frank Jourdan, member of the Executive Board of
Continental AG and Chairman of the Chassis & Safety Division Management
Board. “This is why we’re developing cross-divisional solutions for driverless
robo-taxis – and we will be starting with practical testing this year.
Continental has therefore access to an almost complete product portfolio of its
own sensors, actuators, control units and communication and networking
technology,” he adds.
According to a study by the consulting company
Roland Berger, driverless vehicles will account for around a quarter of
transportation services by the year 2030 – and this potential revolution in the
world of the automotive industry was a clear motive for Continental to initiate
a corporation-wide development project named “Self-Driving Car”.
Continental has built a demo vehicle to enable
driverless mobility, especially in cities. The vehicle, named CUbE (Continental
Urban Mobility Experience) will start its trials at Continental’s Frankfurt
location, which contains a typical city infrastructure such as street signs,
cross-traffic, pedestrian crossings and curbs, providing optimum conditions for
a complex and therefore realistic route.
Many aspects of the technology
used in the vehicle are based on the driver assistance systems and sensors that
are already installed in today’s serial production vehicles, but new
technologies are also used, such as the laser sensor. Based on this expertise,
these systems will be further developed to control the vehicle completely
“The trials will be used to
identify all the essential technical requirements that enable safe, driverless
passenger transport in urban areas,” says Dr. Andree Hohm, Head of the Self-Driving
Car project at Continental and adds that “This helps us to find answers to
questions about our product strategy and to deliver leading technology for
individual mobility in the future – including driverless systems.”
Thanks to the CUbE, Continental
is among the pioneers in crucial technology for robo-taxis. “In recent months,
the topic has really moved into the limelight,” says Jourdan. “This tells us
that we have chosen exactly the right time for our bold approaches to practical
testing, enabling us to pave the way towards the future,” he adds. Driverless
vehicles will use a great number of technologies with which Continental has
vast experience – from sensors and control units to software algorithms,
braking systems and powertrain technologies.
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