Continental introduces the fifth generation of its short- and long-range radar sensors
Continental has introduced the fifth generation of its short- and long-range radar sensors. The sensors will reportedly enter series production in 2019. The company adds that they will feature greater capacity, catering to vehicle manufacturers' differing requirements and electrical-electronic (E/E) architectures, as they are based on a scalable modular principle.
According to Continental, the use of 77 GHz technology enabled the increase of sensor resolution so it can detect smaller objects, such as an exhaust pipe that has fallen off, more accurately. Additionally, a range of up to 900 ft (274 m) and an opening angle of ±60° are possible in the highest expansion stage, depending on the required performance. With short-range radar, precise parking functions can be executed in addition to functions such as blind spot detection, lane change assist, and rear cross traffic alert.
"With the fifth generation of our powerful and tried-and-tested radar sensors, we are opening up new opportunities for modern advanced driver assistance systems," said Amit Kapoor, head of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems at Continental North America. "Our latest radar generation is an important element in our technology portfolio to further strengthen and advance our leading position in the development of assisted and automated driving. In particular, the elevation measuring capability of our radar sensors allows the most varied of objects, even relatively small objects, to be detected more precisely."
The image of the surroundings produced by the radar is sent to a central control unit such as the Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit. In this way, different E/E architectures of vehicles can be covered using a single sensor concept. In addition to today's standards for bus systems, such as high-speed CAN and CAN-FD, the fifth generation is already prepared for automotive Ethernet because of a hardware concept designed to ensure that the necessary bandwidth for transmitting sensor raw data to the Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit is available.
One of the features of the new generation is a higher resolution compared to previous radar generations, enabling a more exact snapshot of the current traffic situation. In addition, road boundaries like curbstones as well as the height of objects, such as the end of a traffic jam under a bridge, are detected because of the sensors' evaluation measurement accuracy. Even the entry-level variant of the long-range radar has a range of 600 ft (183 m) and an opening angle of ±45°. The expansion stage currently in preparation will look 900 feet ahead, with an opening angle of ±60°.
When four of the short-range radar sensors are installed on the corners of a vehicle, the wider opening angle and higher resolution facilitate a seamless 360° radar "safety belt" around the vehicle. In conjunction with other sensors, such as a camera, surround view systems, and 3D Flash LiDAR, the goal of achieving an understanding of the vehicle surrounding that is equal to or even better than that of a human being is coming closer.
Called auto-alignment, the sensors use a software function to automatically correct deviations from the sensor's ideal location at its installation location on the vehicle.
Production of Continental’s long-range radar sensors was launched in Shanghai, China, in October, with the goal of producing several million units a year. The sensors are also produced in Germany, the U.S., and the Philippines.