Electronic horizon takes centre stage at Continental’s CES exhibit
eHorizon is Continental’s concept of exploiting topographical and traffic-related information for the control of systems in the vehicle that control the longitudinal dynamics, i.e. speed. For instance, the motor controller reduces the fuel intake already in expectation of an imminent downward slope, a red traffic light or a traffic congestion it has become aware of through V2V communications. This kind of forward-thinking driving style helps reducing fuel consumption and thus CO2 emission. A current version of the eHorizon software is implemented in Scania trucks; the system helped to reduce the fuel consumption of the Scania fleet by a total of 63 million litres of diesel fuel since 2012, estimates Continental.
At CES 2015, Continental will demonstrate the next step of eHorizon evolution, achieved in collaboration with IBM and Nokia subsidiary HERE which is dedicated to creating digital maps. The connection with what Continental calls "Location Cloud" – a cloud containing topographical data – and real-time traffic data keeps the navigation map current, taking into account dynamic events like weather, accidents or traffic congestions. The topographical data are provided by HERE whereas IBM contributes the Connected Car Cloud Analytics. "Through the data from the cloud, eHorizon transforms the conventional navigational map into a highly precise, continuously updated information platform that can be utilised for much more than just finding the right way," explained Helmut Matschi, who as general manager of Continental’s Division Interior oversees the development of eHorizon. "This increases safety, fuel efficiency and driving comfort in passenger cars and trucks alike."
At CES, Continental’s exhibits will be centred on the eHorizon, highlighting how other electronics components of the vehicle like displays, access technologies, connectivity, infotainment, driver assistance systems and powertrain management can benefit from the vehicle’s connection to the cloud.
Driver assistance systems as well as actuators like brake or steering can be prepared to react to imminent traffic situations even before the vehicle’s sensors or the driver become aware of them. For instance, if the dynamic horizon is aware of a traffic stall after a road bend, an automated vehicle can slow down softly instead of initiating a forced slowdown once the car’s own sensors determine that there is a congestion. Other interesting application cases could include optimising the powertrain of hybrid drive vehicles or maximising the driving range of electric cars. The 3D road profile from HERE with inclines and declines as well as dynamic traffic and weather information can have a significant impact on the driving range of electric vehicles. Likewise, hybrid vehicles can extend their electric range if they can utilise dynamic traffic information. At the CES, Continental will demonstrate how these data can be utilised for Continental’s 48V Eco Drive System which are equipped with predictive energy management.
An important aspect is that the eHorizon platform can access sensor data from other vehicles as well as from sources in the internet. eHorizon’s navigation data are held in the Location Cloud from where they are transmitted into the car as relevant map snippets for the respective road section. Continental provides the hardware for the vehicle and also develops server-side algorithms that extract the relevant data from a variety of sources including vehicle-based sensors and commercial traffic data providers.
According to the tier one, the eHorizon already in its current version can help to reduce the fuel consumption by 3%. The eHorizon technology is implemented in the predictive cruise control system at truck manufacturer Scania. In this implementation, eHorizon generates a three-dimensional profile of the route out of on the data stored in the navigation system, the digital map from HERE and the GPS signal. This profile is forwarded to the cruise control, enabling it to automatically adapt the speed to the road section ahead.