International automotive supplier Continental will launch production this month 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. In the market for the market is a keystone of our strategy," said Christian Schumacher head of the North American Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) business unit of Continental's Chassis & Safety Division. A single line will handle production initially, but additional lines are in preparation to satisfy the demand of OEMs manufacturing in the U.S. "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.
Continental has experienced rapid growth in the business with sensor technologies like camera, lidar and radar. 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.
Short range radars monitor blind spots and help in backing out of parking spaces
Short range radar sensors by Continental are indispensable to Blind Spot Detection (BSD) and Rear Cross Traffic Alert (RCTA). 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.
Development of driver assistance systems and automated driving goes hand in hand
Advanced driver assistance systems represent a key technology on the road to accident-free driving (Vision Zero). Vision Zero will become reality in three steps, beginning with no fatal accidents, followed by no injuries and, ultimately, no accidents at all.
"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. From a technological perspective, automated driving is a further development in driver assistance system technology that Continental has already started to pursue.
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. include Continental engine controllers manufactured in Seguin.
With sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs around 178,000 people in 49 countries.