In the area of the connected car, Continental is currently working on dynamizing its existing e-horizon road database with the help of sensor data from moving cars. With this system of coordinated sensors, data processing and assistance systems, called PreViewESC, it would be possible, for example, to warn vehicles practically in real time of road sections that are dangerous to drive on due to weather-related events. "The dynamic eHorizon can be imagined as an additional virtual sensor that networks data from various sources, intelligently evaluates it and distributes it to other vehicles. In this way, we raise driving safety to a new level under all conditions," says Anton Klöster, Product Manager eHorizon at Continental.
How does this work? The wheel sensors constantly measure the slippage of the tires (which they do anyway for driving dynamics control). If anomalies occur, such as when driving on ice, snow or wet roads, these measured values together with the corresponding position data can be anonymously fed into a database in the cloud and immediately transmitted to the following vehicles so that the driver or the automatic driving system can take appropriate action.
Other sensors such as cameras could also be included to identify snowy or frozen roads. Continental’s engineers also use artificial intelligence in the cloud to create models that recognize road objects and predict the emergence of dangerous situations. These models can react to changing conditions and use input and output data to adapt functions through learning tasks. In addition, neural networks are used for image processing and object recognition. A Continental speaker assured that the system already works technically to the greatest possible extent. However, the business model for using the data is not entirely clear.
A further development that serves safety in the autonomy levels 3 and 4 is the combined environment and interior camera. It not only monitors the space in front of the vehicle, but also detects whether the driver is ready to take the wheel if necessary by means of an infrared camera pointing inwards. Transferring responsibility from the vehicle computer to the driver in the event of an emergency is still one of the most difficult situations. Safe transfer can only take place if the information from the environment is coordinated with that from the interior.