Higher safety standards and the goal of minimizing the risk of injury in the event of a rollover have made A-pillars wider and wider over the years. For pedestrians and cyclists, however, this trend represents an increased risk potential, as it restricts the field of vision and makes it easier to overlook weaker road users. In some situations, depending on the width of the A-pillar, a large part of the field of vision may be obscured.
With a combination of several technologies, Continental intends countering this phenomenon. The core elements of the Virtual A-pillar are flexible OLED displays and an interior camera for driver recognition. Drivers often compensate for the viewing angle restricted by the A-pillars by adjusting their position while driving. For this reason, the interior camera developed by Continental and mounted directly above the steering wheel records the driver's movements. At the same time, surround view cameras mounted on the outside of the vehicle send images from the immediate vehicle environment to the OLED displays, which are integrated into the A-pillars inside the car. The live recordings of the external cameras, in conjunction with the recording of the driver's head movements, offer the driver a dynamic perspective of the vehicle's surroundings - the Virtual A-pillar thus opens up a spatial field of vision that is intended to look more like a view through an extended window than a video recording.