Continental is integrating AEye long-range LiDAR technology into its full sensor stack solution to create the first full stack automotive-grade system for Level 2+ up to Level 4 automated and autonomous driving applications.
The solution, based on AEye’s LiDAR technology, is a substantial part of the sensor set-up for high level automation systems.
It complements the radar, camera and ultrasonic technologies in Continental’s sensor system and enables a redundant Automated Driving platform, which can handle complex, diverse traffic scenarios and adverse weather conditions.
“Reliable, safe, automated and autonomous driving functions will not be feasible without bringing the strengths of all sensor technologies together,” said Continental ADAS Business Unit head, Frank Petznick.
Complex and safety critical traffic scenarios, such as obstacles on the road and fast vehicles passing on highways, require high automation systems to have a maximum sensing range and image resolution to ensure sufficient response time.
A single technology approach cannot fulfil this requirement. Continental maintains its approach also ensures the system can operate in all environmental conditions, including low sun, heavy rain, dense fog and cold or hot temperatures.
One of the most challenging parts of developing new technologies is to make them accessible to the mass market. Continental is now industrialising AEye’s reference technology for mass market production, which is critical to ensuring consistent quality.
“Our partnership with AEye is unique because it enables Continental to build a new long-range LiDAR in a very short time, based on AEye’s reference architecture and software,” added Continental LiDAR Segment head, Gunnar Juergens.
“We will manage the entire product life cycle, including the development of a mass market product, as well as manufacturing, validation and testing according to automotive grade standards.”
In 1999, Continental industrialised radar technology and was able to realise an affordable price point that helped bring safety functions such as emergency brake assist to market. Later this year, based on more than 20 years of experience in Automotive LiDAR, Continental is launching the first solid-state short-range High Resolution 3D Flash LiDAR to the market.
“With AEye’s adaptive LiDAR technology, OEMs can optimise the field of view and resolution of the sensor for different use cases with software,” noted Petznick.
“This is a natural fit with our configurable full stack platform that integrates cameras, radars, and LiDARs with our Automated Driving Control Units and software solutions to give light and commercial vehicle manufacturers the ability to select and combine the ADAS features they want within a wide breadth of vehicle models.”
As a result of the partnership, Continental is producing first samples of the new long-range LiDAR in its Ingolstadt plant in Germany. With the samples, Continental can drive further industrialisation with a planned start of production of 2024. In parallel, Continental has started production line build-up preparations to ensure a timely transition from sample to series production.
Last month, Continental started construction on a new manufacturing facility in New Braunfels, Texas.
As demand for intelligent safety functions continues to increase, Continental is expanding its R&D and manufacturing capabilities to meet growing demand.