Continental introduces its latest generation of cameras

  • Industry News
  • Nov 30,-1
Cameras play a key role in the realisation of modern driver assistance systems and are an integral part of the sensors for automated driving. Advances in camera development create important prerequisites for safe, comfortable, and accident-free driving.
Continental introduces its latest generation of cameras

Cameras play a key role in the realisation of modern driver assistance systems and are an integral part of the sensors for automated driving. Advances in camera development create important prerequisites for safe, comfortable, and accident-free driving. The technology company Continental has designed this latest generation of cameras to specifically meet the growing range of demands of the 'watchful eye' of the car. Due to the new camera platform MFC 500 (multi-function camera), car makers can now produce tailor-made camera solutions from a modular kit. The features of the new camera generation are excellent night vision characteristics and its high image resolution, which now ranges from one to eight megapixels. The aperture angle has also been increased up to 125 degrees, enabling cross-traffic objects to be detected even earlier.

"The most crucial features of the MFC 500 are modularity, scalability, and interlinking," says Karl Haupt, Head of the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems Business Unit and a member of the management board of the Continental Chassis & Safety Division. "Our modular kit consists of the intelligent MFC 500 camera, various satellite cameras, and a central computer for assisted or automated driving (Assisted & Automated Driving Control Unit, ADCU), all of which can be combined to suit customer requirements."

The environment recognition and driving functions are optionally integrated in the camera, but they can also be housed in a separate control unit (ADCU), providing maximum flexibility – the modular design supports both options. The scalable software can also be optimally adapted to the conditions prevailing in the vehicle, such as infrastructure and computing power.

The growing importance of the camera is also reflected in the number and variety of its applications in the vehicle, ranging from front-facing cameras and surround view cameras with wide-angle lenses to dedicated cameras as mirror replacement and rear-view cameras. "The use of multi-camera systems and 360-degree environment recognition is essential for the realisation of automated driving," explains Dr. Sascha Semmler, Head of Program Management Camera at the advanced driver assistance systems business unit. "Here we rely on our modular system components, which can be used for assisted and automated driving and for surround view."

The variety of environment detection requirements is also constantly increasing, from detecting simple objects during parking and the joint processing of surround view camera images to controlling complex situations in road traffic, such as crossing situations with approaching lateral traffic. "We have to develop a complete understanding of the scenarios, because this enables us to make predictions about the immediate future and to react accordingly," says Dr. Thomas Brohm, Head of the Sensorics Development at the advanced driver assistance systems business unit. In addition to classic computer vision procedures, the MFC 500 also uses neural networks that can be scaled to match the available hardware. Neural networks consist of mathematical units that can learn and are able to process and execute complex functions.

The camera is also interlinked with the environment: by connecting it to the electronic horizon ('eHorizon') and 'Road Database', road information and landmarks can be transmitted to and received from the cloud to locate the vehicle and enable proactive driving. "Another advantage of interlinking is that the software – and consequently the functions – are always kept up-to-date, in this case by means of over-the-air updates," says Dr. Sascha Semmler. "This makes our latest camera generation even more future-proof."

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