Continental Integrates AEye’s Long-range LiDAR into Full Stack Automated and Autonomous Solution
Continental has announced that in just ten months since commencing its partnership with LiDAR supplier AEye, Continental integrates the 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 setup for high-level automation systems. It complements the radar, camera and ultrasonic technologies in Continental’s sensor system. The company said it enables a reliable and redundant Automated Driving platform that can handle complex, diverse traffic scenarios and adverse weather conditions.
“Reliable and safe automated and autonomous driving functions will not be feasible without bringing the strengths of all sensor technologies together,” said Frank Petznick, head of Continental’s ADAS Business Unit. 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’s complementary approach also ensures that 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. For example, Continental is now industrialising AEye’s reference technology for mass-market production, critical to ensuring consistent quality that vehicle manufacturers can rely on.
“Our partnership with AEye is unique because it enables Continental to build a new long-range LiDAR in a concise time, based on AEye’s reference architecture and software,” said Dr. Gunnar Juergens, Head of LiDAR Segment at Continental. “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.”
The industrialisation of new technologies is not new to Continental. The technology company has a long track record of making new cutting-edge technologies accessible for vehicle manufacturers around the globe. In 1999, Continental industrialised radar technology and realised an affordable price point that helped bring essential safety functions like 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, vehicle manufacturers can optimise the field of view and resolution of the sensor for different use cases with software,” Petznick said.
“This is a natural fit with our configurable full stack platform that seamlessly integrates cameras, radars, and LiDARs with our Automated Driving Control Units and software solutions to give light and commercial vehicle manufacturers the ability to easily select and combine the ADAS features they want within a wide breadth of vehicle models.”
As a result of the partnership, Continental is already producing first samples of the new HRL131 long-range LiDAR in its Ingolstadt plant in Germany. With these 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 smooth and timely transition from sample to series production.