Continental supplies key tech for BMW flagship EV
Together with the driver’s camera integrated in the digital instrument cluster, Continental thus provides essential building blocks for seamless interaction between driver and vehicle. In addition to the cockpit computer, Continental equips the BMW iX with a UWB transceiver for digital vehicle access with a smartphone. Other electronic systems in the iX, such as the integrated smartphone terminal with near-field communication for inductive charging and the control electronics for the intelligent “Sky Lounge” panoramic roof, also come from Continental.
The electronics architecture in the BMW iX bridges the gap from today’s distributed to an integrated and centralised vehicle architecture of the future. Instead of relying on various distributed electronic control units, BMW’s new electric vehicle concentrates the computing power of these functions in a few central computers. Continental’s cockpit domain controller is responsible for numerous software functions and manages all input and output devices in the vehicle interior centrally on a single ECU. This also merges functions from infotainment and instrumentation so that they can be freely configured. This allows maximum personalisation for drivers and passengers as well as greater freedom in vehicle design. Third-party software and cloud services can also run on the central high-performance computer via a virtualisation layer. With this technology, the computer supports hardware-independent software integration. In combination with over-the-air software updates, this creates up-to-dateness and expandability for the cockpit.
The cockpit and the human-machine interface are thus increasingly transforming from a driver’s workplace to a multimodal companion that adapts to the needs of the driver. This approach is also evident in the display system in the windscreen and with the supplier’s driver camera in the curved display. The Head-Up Display projects relevant information, such as speed, important warnings and navigation arrows, into the driver’s direct field of vision.
Seamlessly integrated into the digital instrument cluster, the BMW iX’s driver camera analyses camera images of the driver’s head position, direction, eye opening and line of sight, ensuring that the driver is warned if he or she is distracted from the traffic situation or not paying attention due to fatigue. Other electronic active and passive safety components from Continental, such as brake, suspension and airbag control units and sensors, also contribute to driving safety to ensure a holistically positive user experience.
Continental also supplies the UWB transceiver modules for the BMW iX. As an essential component for keyless access via smartphone, these modules measure the distance from the smartphone to the vehicle. This allows precise localisation of the digital key for passive access and engine start without the driver having to pick up the smartphone. Above all, UWB also offers significantly improved security against relay attacks, which have so far relatively often promoted the theft of the vehicle in connection with remote key solutions. With UWB technology, vehicle thieves are no longer able to intercept and extend the key signal to gain access, Continental promises.
Continental’s UWB unit brings new levels of security and comfort to remote key usage.
The global standard for passive vehicle access is being developed in the cross-industry Car Connectivity Consortium (CCC). Here, companies from the automotive industry, smartphone manufacturers and technology companies come together to advance the networking between smartphone and vehicle. The CCC also aims to identify further applications for vehicle localisation based on UWB technology. Together with other companies such as BMW and Apple, Continental is thus devoting itself in the CCC to the basic development of the UWB radio standard for vehicle access.
In the BMW iX, it is also possible to place the mobile device on the smartphone terminal from Continental with integrated Near Field Communication (NFC) interface and charge it inductively. This automatically establishes a connection between the telephone and infotainment system. In addition, the vehicle can also be opened via NFC if the smartphone battery should run out.
With the electronic control unit for BMW‘s so-called Sky Lounge, Continental also makes the panoramic roof intelligent. The large glass surface can be darkened electrically depending on the light conditions.