Head-up display transferred from car to tram

Head-up display transferred from car to tram

Feature articles |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

Continental has modified a head-up display (HUD) from a production car for use in trams. The display solution is intended to contribute to greater safety in inner-city road traffic.

The head-up display is intended to relieve the strain on tram drivers, as it allows them to focus their gaze and thus their attention entirely on what is happening on the road. Trams mainly operate in dense, often confusing inner-city traffic. An environment in which the number of vulnerable road users is increasing: More and more people are riding bicycles, e-scooters or compact electric scooters; in addition, many road users are distracted by mobile phones. According to transport operators, this is leading to an increasing number of accidents, including those involving trams.

On behalf of a manufacturer of rail vehicles, Continental’s development company Continental Engineering Services d(CES) is currently bringing a head-up display for trams to series production readiness. It will initially be used in Europe from the middle of this year. Up to now, real head-up displays have not existed in rail transport. Essential components of the display, including the light source, come from Continental’s automotive portfolio and are installed in various vehicle models of major car manufacturers. “Information that was previously displayed on various cockpit instruments can now be positioned in the driver’s field of vision via a central head-up display. The driver’s gaze is not distracted from the traffic situation. The journey becomes safer, for train drivers and passengers alike,” promotes CES Managing Director Christoph Falk-Gierlinger.

Continental’s Combiner head-up display for rail vehicles

The advantages for the use of head-up displays in rail vehicles are definitely worth mentioning. As in the automotive sector, the trend there is towards ever-larger windscreens and, as a result, lower dashboards. Necessary head movements, however, distract from the traffic situation. In addition, the eyes of tram drivers constantly focus back and forth between close and distant vision as their gaze switches between the cockpit and the road. This is very tiring for the driver. The projection of essential information – such as warning signals, speed, distance to the next stop – in the driver’s direct field of vision makes the journey more comfortable and thus safer. Because the information is virtually displayed as if it were some distance in front of the vehicle, the eyes do not have to constantly refocus.

Continental’s Combiner head-up display projects information onto an external transparent screen in the driver’s field of vision. This technology is thus suitable for use in newly developed vehicles as well as a retrofit solution for existing models. Thanks to powerful LEDs, Continental’s head-up display, which has already proven itself as a premium solution in the automotive sector, meets the highest demands in terms of light and image quality, even in bright sunshine.

In addition to the head-up display, the CES technology portfolio for rail vehicles includes other system technology solutions: for example, a driver status monitoring system that keeps an eye on the driver by means of a camera, or a collision warning system oriented in the direction of travel or to the side. All these technologies are already successfully on the road in the passenger car or commercial vehicle sector. For their use in trams, CES engineers have looked at the operation and control of trains, the technical challenges and the design of tram cockpits. In cooperation with a manufacturer of rail vehicles, it was thus possible to develop a head-up display solution according to automotive quality standards. In the future, further fields of application are conceivable; Continental also sees possible applications for this in long-distance trains.

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