Experience shows that a decision can generally only be as good as the information on which it is based. When driving, missing or out-of-date information can lead to unpleasant surprises, such as blocked highway intersections, traffic jams, accidents, extreme weather conditions, major events, and so on. At the root of the problem is data that does not adequately reflect current traffic conditions.
Intelligent solutions that facilitate more comfortable, fuel-optimized traffic flow are desirable for drivers and for the economy as a whole. The electronic horizon (eHorizon) under permanent development at Continental is just such a solution, offering a proactive, efficient, and comfortable information base for improved traffic flow.
There are three stages of development of the eHorizon, of which the static eHorizon has been in use since 2012. Thanks to static eHorizon, commercial vehicles can save more than 1500 litres of truck diesel a year on average. The eHorizon uses map data to give vehicle electronics a glimpse into the future. This allows the vehicle to adjust to the upcoming route early on. But there is more to come.
Commercial applications are being prepared for the second development stage – the connected eHorizon, and the most far-reaching development stage – the dynamic eHorizon – was just recently demonstrated on the roads of Las Vegas during the 2016 CES. Using live, online information from traffic lights the eHorizon further enhances the vehicle’s fuel economy.
All three development stages of the eHorizon are based on the same underlying principle: The extended electronic horizon processes additional route information in the vehicle that enables early, situation-optimized decision-making by the driver and intelligent driving strategies for on-board systems. The broader range of “vision” of the eHorizon enables proactive rather than purely reactive modes of behavior.
The dynamic eHorizon takes into account dynamic events such as traffic lights, weather, accidents, or traffic jams. To allow for real-time updates, the dynamic eHorizon uses the data provided by sensors on other vehicles and the infrastructure (Vehicle-to-X, V2X) and additional sources using the Internet.
The eHorizon map data is kept available in a location cloud, which analyzes real time data from sensors and other dynamic events and systematically transmits the information to the vehicle so it can adjust its route. Thanks to the cloud, the dynamic eHorizon turns the digital map into a high-precision and constantly up-to-date information carrier that can be used for so much more than just navigation. Driver assistance systems or actuator behavior such as braking and steering can be prepared for upcoming traffic situations, long before the vehicle sensors detect the situation. The dynamic eHorizon can alert the driver to the tail of a traffic jam after a bend, or an automated vehicle could gently reduce its speed, rather than initiating full braking once the sensors have detected the obstacle.
It is the dynamic eHorizon that makes highly automated driving really comfortable, as the eHorizon complements the vehicle sensors as an additional source of information. The eHorizon technology supports the roadmap to fully automated driving, which will reduce the number of accidents, increase traffic efficiency and bring the driver a totally new level of comfort while driving.