World’s first long-range radar from Continental turns 20

World’s first long-range radar celebrates two decades of existence in 2019. Continental played a key role in this joint development with Mercedes: in the Mercedes S-Class (W220 series) in 1999. Daimler offered its adaptive cruise control system under the name “Distronic”. It was the first adaptive cruise control (ACC) system in the world to use long-range radar. Its range at the time was 150 meters, making it the most advanced system of its day. The latest, fifth generation of Continental’s long-range radar, with a range of up to 300 meters and unprecedented resolution.

“With this system we broke new technological ground. The radar solution has since firmly established itself. Over 50 million long-range and short-range radar sensors have been produced by Continental alone – and the latest, fifth generation of long-range radar is ready to be launched just in time for its 20th anniversary,” says Norbert Hammerschmidt, Head of Program Management Radar at Continental, who was involved in the development of the first long-range radar in 1996.

Radar-based emergency brake assist has even been a legal requirement for trucks in Europe since 2015. The radar sensors of the latest generation are around the size of a block of butter and weigh just 500 grams. The semiconductor technology, which is the key component, has also been modified several times. “The complementary metal-oxide radio frequency (CMOS FR) technology, which is now being used for the first time in the fifth generation, will allow us in the future to combine all functions on a single chip, reducing installation space and costs,” explains Continental expert Hammerschmidt.

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