Continental researchers and developers in North America, Europe and Asia are working to make series production technologies suitable for use in robo-taxis, the company says.
While still rare on public roads today, Continental says driverless robo-taxis will become an important part of mobility in urban centers, helping to reduce traffic congestion and increase efficiency. This year, Continental’s technology for driverless vehicles will be in production for the first time in t]French company EasyMile’s EZ10 autonomous shuttle. Continental has held a stake in this driverless vehicle manufacturer since 2017.
Continental has developed a production-ready radar system specifically designed for driverless vehicles, allowing the vehicle to generate a 360-degree image of its environment by combining the data from different sensor technologies. These radar systems function independent of visibility conditions and can even “see-through” objects such as parked cars, the company says.
Continental’s braking portfolio also includes suitable technologies for robo-taxis, the company says, such as the MK C1 one-box brake system. This system has been in series production since 2016 and combines ABS, ESC and a brake booster. In autonomous vehicles, the one-box brake system is combined with a hydraulic brake extension that can, in conjunction with ABS, safely brake the vehicle in the highly unlikely event of primary brake failure. Together, these systems form the production-ready MK C1 HAD brake system for highly automated driving and driverless mobility applications. The MK C1 HAD offers an additional safety benefit: the electromechanically generated maximum brake pressure is achieved after 150 milliseconds. This means that without driver intervention, automated vehicles can now be brought to a standstill more quickly than with conventional brake systems, Continental says.
Development of these technologies is being conducted by a global network of in the U.S., Germany, China, Japan and Singapore. At these locations, research and development work is carried out with different emphases, each making use of the CUbE platform with the common goal of future generations of safe and efficient robo-taxis.
Continental, EasyMile, Oakland University, and the City of Auburn Hills in Michigan are set to implement the pilot deployment of an autonomous shuttle thanks to a grant from Michigan’s PlanetM mobility initiative, which supports companies in testing their technologies for future mobility. The pilot will begin in late August and last up to six months. The driverless shuttle will be deployed on the grounds of Oakland University.
During the pilot, Continental will integrate its Zonar technology, which enables vehicle inspections via the Radio-Frequency Identification-based (RFID) Electronic Verified Inspection Reporting (EVIR) system. The EVIR system captures, transmits and records inspection, compliance and maintenance data to the operator. Additionally, the Zonar Z Pass technology detects where and when the passengers enter and exit the vehicle. The aim of this pilot project is to gather experience in the operation of driverless vehicles and to collect empirical data that will be integrated in the technological development of these vehicles.