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Continental to Launch Production of Short Range Radar Sensors in the U.S.
The rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) system can help to avoid accidents with crossing vehicles when reversing out of a parking space
Image courtesy of Continental
While advanced driver assistance systems are the growth engine in the company's chassis and safety division, surrounding sensors are a major contributor to road safety and a prerequisite for automated driving.
AUBURN HILLS, Mich.—Continental, the international automotive supplier, announced earlier this year that it will launch production of short range radar sensors for advanced driver assistance systems at its plant in Seguin, Texas.
"Expanding our manufacturing capacity takes us a step closer to our American customers," said Christian Schumacher, head of the North American Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) business unit of Continental's chassis & safety division, in a press release. A single line will handle production initially, but additional lines are in preparation to satisfy the demand of OEMs manufacturing in the U.S., he explained.
Continental has experienced rapid growth in the business with sensor technologies like camera, lidar, and radar.
"We plan to produce some three million short range radar sensors in Seguin in 2016. The numbers say something about how rapidly demand is rising for short range radar functions like Blind Spot Detection or Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Legislation is a driving force, but also our customers' desire for increased safety and comfort is providing a major impetus," Schumacher remarked in the release.
Since production began in 1999, Continental has turned out more than ten million sensors, 4.5 million last year alone. Next year should see the 26 million mark, some ten million of which will be radar sensors (short- and long range radars). However, cameras—mono, stereo, and camera systems for a 360-degree surround detection—are also booming. Lane departure warning, intelligent headlamp control, plus such functions as traffic sign recognition and camera-based parking assistant systems, are becoming increasingly popular in all classes of cars, according to company representatives.
The blind spot detection function warns the driver when there are vehicles in the blind spot of the side-view mirror
Image courtesy of Continental
Short range radar sensors by Continental are crucial to blind spot detection (BSD) and rear cross traffic alert (RCTA) systems. The BSD feature warns drivers of cars lurking in the blind spot, making passing and lane changes safer and more manageable, both in city traffic and in highway driving. The RCTA feature detects crossing traffic behind the vehicle while the car is backing out, helping to avoid accidents that can often result in serious injuries.
Advanced driver assistance systems represent a key technology powered by high-performance sensors that could lead to accident-free driving.
"Advanced driver assistance systems, including proven sensor technology, are a major component of automated driving. Highly or fully automated driving can only become a reality through high-performance sensors and a reliable, accurate so-called environmental model of the vehicle surrounding," said Schumacher in the release. From a technological perspective, automated driving is a further development in driver assistance system technology that Continental has already started to pursue, he added.
The Seguin facility, located approximately 35 miles northeast of San Antonio, currently employs more than 1,300 people and also manufactures powertrain control modules for some of the world's leading automotive manufacturers. One in five vehicles sold in the U.S. includes Continental engine controllers manufactured in Seguin.
Continental (www.continental-automotive.com) is a supplier of brake systems, as well as systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment systems, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers. Through its products, the company works to enhance driving safety and global climate protection, while also working to develop networked automobile communication.
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