Continental rolls out schedule for automatic driving

December 18, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
After years of trials and testing, automotive supplier Continental AG now has sketched a roadmap for an introduction of automatic driving. The company believes that by 2025, even automatic driving at high speed on highways will be feasible with serial vehicles.

Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart announced that over the years ahead, the company will spend several billion euros in the development of systems enabling semi-automatic and fully automated driving. "For us it is obvious that automated driving will be a core element of future mobility", Degenhart said. He added that his company is well positioned to develop and deploy systems enabling partially automated driving by 2016. "First applications for highly automated and eventually fully automatic driving, even at higher speeds and in complex driving situations could be ready for mass deployment by 2020 and 2025, respectively."

In terms of technology, automated driving extends the current developments in the segment of driver assistant systems. The path to the goal leads through waypoints such as connecting driver assistant systems with driver information systems and with the powertrain. For instance, from 2016 it should be possible to deploy partly automated systems, which offload the driver in stop-and-go situations at low speeds of up to 30 kph. In this scenario however the entire responsibility for driving remains at the driver.

The next step in Continental's scenario could be something called "highly automated driving" which could be introduced by 2020. On this stage it will be possible that drivers can perform other tasks such as reading papers or chatting online with friends. Still, he will be able to resume control at any time he wishes. During the third phase, fully automated driving from 2025, this won't be necessary anymore.

For instance, such a fully automated vehicle will be able to control all driving operations autonomously at speeds of up to 130 kph on highways. Once the vehicle reaches the desired exit, it issues a request to the driver to assume control, since the Continental scenario provides automated high-speed driving only at highways equipped with appropriate electronic infrastructure. Case the driver does not comply with this request, the car will be brought to a safe state -