Continental Takes the Wheel with Cruising Chauffer

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【Summary】Technology company Continental introduces its Cruising Chauffeur for autonomous highway driving.

Mia Bevacqua    Dec 05, 2017 4:30 PM PT
Continental Takes the Wheel with Cruising Chauffer

Road trips are fun in your twenties. You and seven friends pile into a five-seat hatchback and head for spring break. But when you're no longer of college age, road trips are far less enjoyable. On long business trips and family excursions, your eyes glaze over and your rear end goes numb. 

Continental's Cruising Chauffer is designed to alleviate the long road trip blues. The system offers SAE Level 3 autonomy that takes control on the highway. 


Sit back, relax and let Cruising Chauffer take control

The driver chooses when to turn on the Cruising Chauffer. Then at the end of the highway, the vehicle passes control back to the human pilot. When this happens, a warning comes on, prompting the driver to take the wheel. If the driver doesn't respond, the vehicle stops on its own. 

To evaluate consciousness, the Chauffer uses an infrared camera to scan the driver's face. Algorithms then analyze the data to determine how much attention the driver is giving the road. Should the driver be asleep – or texting – the vehicle scans its surroundings using cameras, radar and LIDAR. Then the Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit (ADCU) decides how to stop the vehicle safety.

Should the ADCU or one of its peripherals go haywire, the Safety Domain Control Unit (SDCU) steps in. It provides a second, automated path of minimal risk. 


From the test track to the interstate

Like its human counterparts, the Chauffer didn't learn to drive overnight. Continental started testing autonomous vehicles on Nevada roads in 2012. The company was the first supplier to receive the state's license to test automated vehicles.

It looks as though driver's education class paid off. Production of the Cruising Chauffer is set for 2020, according to SAE.

Cruising Chauffer is part of a bigger picture over at Continental. The company's goal is to produce automated driving solutions that improve people's lives. An autopilot system, like Cruising Chauffer is needed to make this happen. Automated parking and city driving are also needed. 

Building these safe automated systems is the responsibility of Continental's Project House Automated Driving group. According to Cision, Continental now has a global fleet of development vehicles in the U.S., Germany, Japan and China.

On the next family road trip – when you've heard "are we there yet?" for the hundredth time – just think, you could be napping if the Cruising Chauffer were driving. Well, not really, but you might be able to sneak in a game of Candy Crush. 

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