When it comes to manufacturing, new components take a considerable amount of time and require extensive levels of preparation. This is especially the case in the automotive sector. During a new car’s development, billions are often spent on the process, from beginning to end.
At Continental, the development of components and technologies is a continual process. The future of manufacturing is studied and researched intensely, so as to enhance the capabilities of next-generation products. Although it is renowned for its tyres, Continental is in fact a major supplier of other equipment and solutions to the automotive industry. Brake systems, electronics and automotive safety are just some of the areas it has proven world-leading expertise in.
To assist in the production methods of the future, digital manufacturing and artificial intelligence (AI) have also been extensively invested in and researched by Continental.
So, how does it work? Digital manufacturing employs advanced computing to help model, test and build new machines and components. In this modern form of production, the computing and building aspects of the process work in synchronisation. This allows for testing, simulation and 3D modelling to take place alongside the actual construction process.
This is achieved through leading-edge software development, so it comes as no surprise to learn that Continental is one of the largest employers of software engineers in Europe. There are presently 14,000 employed in the company’s automotive division. But these experts don’t just work on the digital manufacturing process; they’re also working on a number of other important advancements, including digital connectivity and data gathering.
The future of automotive safety is digital
The digital revolution is at the heart of driver protection. An array of sensors, cameras and other active safety technologies combine to provide motorists with transport solutions that have never been safer. However, this doesn’t mean that standards can’t be improved upon. Imagine for a moment that you’re driving behind a slow-moving truck. You want to overtake it, but the truck is hard to see past, due to its size. Continental is working on a solution to this using Augmented Reality – otherwise known as ‘AR’.
AR is an exciting new technology which will give us all the power to improve on what we see, and how we perceive the world around us. Using live-streamed information from several sensors and data sources, as well as an advanced head-up display (HUD), you may well be able to see right through the truck to perceive the road ahead. Perceive is the right word here, too. You won’t be seeing it exactly – instead, you’ll be having a live image of the road projected onto your windscreen, allowing you a view of the road that could enable you to make a judgement on whether it is safe to pass or not.
With the advancements being made in Augmented Reality, the way we perceive our environment in the future is guaranteed to change. Instead of traditional dials and screens, navigational instructions could very well float in front of us, communicating updates on the status of our car and road networks, directly in our line of sight. It is a fascinating piece of technology that promises to lead to some remarkable experiences for both drivers and passengers alike in the vehicles of the future.