October 22, 2002

Integration of vehicle electronics to improve safety – expert

Detroit, Michigan – Electronics convergence will lead to improved vehicle safety and performance says the head of one of the world’s largest automotive components companies. Speaking at Convergence 2002, a global transportation conference, Bill Kozyra, President and CEO of Continental Teves North America, said that ‘drive-by-wire’ systems will not only replace mechanical systems, but reduce a vehicle’s complexity.

“By-wire technologies (i.e., brake, throttle and steering) offer automakers and consumers tangible benefits, in and of themselves,” Kozyra said. “What makes them especially exciting is the convergence concept. Future benefits of integrating the various by-wire systems will come from reducing overall complexity rather than just eliminating mechanical systems.”

Kozyra gave attendees a couple of examples of how Continental is using this form of convergence to develop advanced brake and chassis technologies. “Our Global Chassis Control program integrates the various chassis mechanical and control systems to increase overall performance and safety,” Kozyra said. “In fact, with our 30 Meter Car research project, we brought a modified compact car to a full stop in only 30 meters from 100 kilometres per hour — that’s 98.4 feet from 62 miles per hour. The comparable distance for the same current production vehicle is 125 feet, which means we improved stopping distance by 21 percent.”

Kozyra noted that Continental Teves was able to utilize the expertise from the 30 Meter Car to help an automaker achieve similar results. “We helped Ford improve stopping distance on the new Expedition and Navigator by more than 20 percent,” he said. “Our integrated solution included a number of advanced Continental technologies, including Brake Assist, four-wheel anti-lock brake system, the Electronic Stability Program, air suspension components and tires.”
Integrating these in-vehicle safety technologies is just the first step towards convergence, Kozyra added.

“A future challenge will be integrating technologies like brake-by-wire and steer-by-wire with telematics and ITS technologies. How will we anticipate and simplify interfaces? How will we balance the needs of safety and infotainment systems in an integrated electronics system? Will technology be based on open architecture or will OEMs and their suppliers develop proprietary systems?”

Kozyra pointed to the ContiTemic Communications Gateway as a proven approach to integrating these different technologies and systems. “This stand-alone unit can be mounted virtually anywhere within the vehicle and connects the different busses, translating protocols and commands up and down the vehicle information chain,” he said. “Our Gateway will help simplify integration by ensuring that critical data is shared between the various systems.”

Kozyra closed by calling on automakers and suppliers to join Continental in an educational program aimed at consumers.

“We need to educate consumers about the new technologies that are being built into their vehicles,” Kozyra pointed out. “It is a mistake to assume that consumers will accept and adopt any of these technologies simply because they’re available. We need to show them and convince them that these technologies will improve their safety and driving experience.”

Continental AG is a world leader in the design, development and supply of brake, chassis, electronics and tire systems that contribute to driving safety and comfort.

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