Traffic gridlock, accident fatalities, and vehicle emissions are not good things. So the underlying challenge for the auto industry is to develop and use technologies appropriately for society.
Data shows that in 2013, Los Angeles drivers spent 90 hours stuck in traffic. That same year there were 33,000 fatalities on U.S roads. Even vehicle emissions caused death.
“This was really for me a surprising (statistic): Globally, 53,000 fatalities were directly attributed to road traffic pollution, mostly because of exhaust fumes," said Helmut Matschi, Executive Board Member at Continental. "That’s a real high number. So that could lead to the question: Does it really make sense to work further on cars? But clearly for us the answer is yes.”
Matschi was the Thursday morning keynote speaker in the AVL theater inside Detroit’s Cobo Center at the 2015 SAE World Congress.
A connected vehicle could help reduce accidents, traffic congestion, and emissions.
“In the past, vehicles had no access to the Internet. Today, more and more vehicles have Internet access. Tomorrow, the vehicle will be part of the Internet of Everything (IoE),” according to Matschi.
The next evolution of Continental's electronic Horizon (eHorizon) strategy underscores the concept of IoE.
The current production version of eHorizon relies on sensors and map data. Launched in 2012, fleet operators using Scania commercial trucks can adjust to changes in an upcoming route early. A major benefit is reduced fuel consumption.
“This has already saved three percent of fuel. With that static (sensor-based) eHorizon, we have up to now saved 23 million gallons of diesel. When we convert this into CO2, that’s an equivalent of 239 tons,” said Matschi. Continental’s eHorizon will be used by four other heavy-duty truck OEMs later this year.
Continental’s new Dynamic eHorizon is cloud-based. In collaboration with IBM, Cisco, and the location cloud company Here, it turns the digital map into a highly precise and up-to-date information carrier.
“With that we can enhance a lot of activities on the safety side, on the comfort side, (and) emissions side,” said Matschi. Dynamic eHorizon also supports other technologies, including driver-assistance systems, navigation systems, and augmented-reality head-up displays.
All of these various advanced technologies add software complexity.
“The software demand is increasing and increasing,” said Matschi, noting that a typical luxury vehicle can have more than 160 sensors, up to 100 ECUs, and more than 170 actuators. “And with the possibility of connectivity there is even more interest that different electronics communicate with each other.”
Industry partnerships can bring it all together.
“In order to enhance the driving comfort, to have safer driving, and to reduce CO2, if we stick together as an industry--as we do--then we are ready for vehicles, which are always on for future mobility,” said Matschi.