Continental has announced that it has incorporated its expertise in vehicle surroundings sensors into the fifth-generation of its short and long-range radar sensors, which will enter series production in 2019. This fifth-generation radar has greater capacity, and is also based on a scalable modular principle, which can flexibly support different requirements and electrical-electronic (E/E) architectures of vehicle manufacturers. Continental noted that when creating future applications, especially in the case of automated driving, high precision in range resolution, object detection and accuracy in measuring the speed are highly important. Continental will showcase this radar technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2018 in Las Vegas.
Continental said that the worldwide trend of using 77 GHz technology results in the resolution of the sensors becoming higher and facilitating more accurate detection of objects. The long-range radar has a range of up to 300 m, with an opening angle of ±60° in the highest expansion stage depending on the required performance, it added. Meanwhile, short-range radar enables the execution of precise parking functions easily for the first time, in addition to functions such as blind-spot detection, lane change assist or rear cross traffic alert.
The fifth-generation radar technology from Continental is claimed to be Flexible usage and suitable for future E/E architectures, since the radar sensors are based on a highly-sophisticated radar procedure. In terms of performance, the development leap of the new generation radar lies in its compactness and flexible usage, the company noted. The picture 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 also prepared for Automotive Ethernet, thanks to the hardware concept, explained Continental.
A feature of the new-generation radar is a higher resolution compared with the previous radar generations, with which a more exact picture of the traffic situation can be obtained. Additionally, road limits like curb stones and height of objects are detected thanks to the sensors’ evaluation measurement accuracy, said Continental. The entry-level variant of the long-range radar has a range of 200 m and an opening angle of ±45°, which goes up to 300 m in front, with an opening angle of ±60°.
Continental also explained that when four short-range radar sensors are installed on the corners of a vehicle, the larger opening angle and the higher resolution facilitate a 360° radar ‘safety belt.’ Such detailed and seamless display of the area surrounding the vehicle is important, since the vehicle will not be able to take on the driver’s tasks in automated driving otherwise, it said. This radar, in conjunction with other sensors such as camera, surround view systems and 3D Flash LiDAR helps in gaining proximity to the goal of achieving autonomous driving better. The fifth-generation also includes an established strength of Continental’s radar sensors called auto-alignment, which uses software to automatically correct deviations from the sensor’s ideal location at its installation location on the vehicle.
The flexibility and compactness of the new-generation radars makes it easier to use them across entire vehicle platforms, noted Norbert Hammerschmidt, Head, Program Management Radar, Continental. He said that additionally, this radar can be used as a defined interface in the sensor and modular hard and software, either as a stand-alone product or as a pure radar head without dedicated evaluation. This means that the necessary bandwidth for transmitting sensor raw data to our Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit is available, added Hammerschmidt. He also said that a large opening angle is important in supporting autonomous emergency braking at crossing traffic at intersections, while also detecting motorbikes and cyclists.
Karl Haupt, Head, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit, Continental, said that with the fifth-generation radar sensors, the company is opening up new opportunities for modern advanced driver assistance systems. Continental’s latest radar generation is an important element in the company’s technology portfolio to further strengthen and advance its leading position in the development of assisted and automated driving, he added. Haupt noted that in particular, the elevation measuring capability of Continental’s radar sensors allows the most varied of objects, even relatively small objects, to be detected even more precisely.