At Convergence 2008 in Detroit, Continental demonstrated a control unit called eHorizon that combines data about road features, such as topography and curvature, with information on a vehicle's location and speed.
The firm said eHorizon will help to tailor the response of individual vehicle systems for optimum performance, improved safety and better fuel economy. Automatic shifting can be optimized when driving on curving or hilly roads, for example; adaptive headlamps can begin to adjust before the steering wheel is turned, and adaptive cruise control systems can respond to factors such as speed limits and road type. Powertrain control for both conventional and hybrid systems can be optimized to improve fuel economy based on the road ahead.
The eHorizon concept is modular, and some of its functionality is being used to improve the performance of the Adaptive Cruise Control system in an OEM product. An eHorizon development package is available to speed application development. Volume production is planned for 2012.
In a basic version of eHorizon, a control unit is integrated in the vehicle to calculate its position precisely with the help of GPS, a gyroscope, and wheel-speed information. The control unit can also use data captured by navigation systems or the Continental Multi Media Platform (MMP), which includes a car radio, CD/DVD player and navigation system, and wireless connectivity for mobile phones and audio players.
Map data is transmitted to other control devices via the Controller Area Network (CAN) bus. Individual control units then recreate the virtual road image with the help of an integrated “Reconstructor” program. The underlying data protocol is in line with the Advanced Driver Assistant Systems Interface Specifications (ADASIS) standard and can be adapted for vehicle manufacturers.
Each time the data package is refreshed, the oldest data package is deleted from the control unit's memory. If Continental's MMP with integrated navigation system is installed in the vehicle, the system then prepares the data and provides it via the CAN bus.