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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Innovative "Driving Planner" Software Enables Highly Automated Driving

Continental says it has developed a groundbreaking technology solution for highly automated driving, an intelligent software that enables complex driving manoeuvres autonomously. The solution is unique: It is already close to series production and can be used as early as 2024. Continental says it wants to demonstrate that automated driving is not a visionary dream of the future or reserved only for premium vehicles with special equipment drivers. Key components – from the software to the required sensor systems – were developed by Continental. "With our intensively tested technologies for automated driving conforming to everyday requirements, we are significantly promoting road safety," says Frank Petznick, head of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit at Continental. "Our solutions show: Automated driving can already offer a big plus in safety and comfort if we support drivers in typical, often stressful driving situations with intelligent technology."

The company says that Complex driving manoeuvres can be performed automatically, even at higher speeds. Their Next Generation Driving Planner is a software solution that enables highly automated driving from Level 3. This means that vehicles can master specific driving tasks independently and without driver intervention. The company claims it software represents a significant leap forward in driving intelligence. The Driving Planner calculates precise decision-making variants from a wide range of sensor data to automatically master complex driving manoeuvres on the highway or expressway. To do this, the software can calculate traffic situations several seconds in advance and derive the optimum response from the vehicle. What is unique about the new solution is that it calculates the combination of longitudinal and lateral movements in a harmonious, intelligent and closely timed interaction. Individual systems available today - adaptive cruise control, lane change assistant - plan longitudinal and lateral movements independently, for example, longitudinal movement with adaptive cruise control and lateral movement with lane change assistant. Continental's Driving Planner now calculates the longitudinal and lateral movement together over a time horizon of several seconds. This enables the technology to master complex maneuvers of highly automated driving.

A typical example where the new system will relieve the driver in the future is when entering a highway via the acceleration lane. The Driving Planner calculates this complex manoeuvre from radar sensor and camera data and makes the optimal decision. Further software modules take over the actual implementation of the calculated driving manoeuvre. For example, the vehicle accelerates forward, merges into the ongoing traffic to the side and then picks up speed according to the traffic flow and other road users. Another example: The vehicle is travelling in the middle of a three-lane highway, on the right-hand side is a traffic jam, but speed remains high on the left; suddenly, a car swerves from the right into the middle lane. Within fractions of a second, the Driving Planner calculates the safest driving manoeuvre from various possible alternatives - braking in the lane, accelerating and merging to the left, braking and merging behind another vehicle in the left lane.

Continental say its Driving Planner is capable of calculating driving manoeuvres up to a speed of 130 km/h. The development phase of the software system has been completed, and the technology is expected to be launched in 2024.

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