Auburn Hills-based autonomous vehicle parts provider, Continental, has successfully integrated AEye’s long range autonomous LiDAR driving technology 10 months after their partnership began.
The LiDAR system that has now been integrated into vehicles is available for up to level 2 through 4 level autonomous driving applications and systems. AEye’s LIDAR solutions complements every part of an autonomous vehicle system.
It supports the radar, camera, and ultrasonic technologies in Continental’s sensor system. The upgrades allow for a reliable autonomous driving platform and experience for detecting difficult traffic scenarios and harsh weather conditions.
“Reliable and safe automated and autonomous driving functions will not be feasible without bringing the strengths of all sensor technologies together,” says Frank Petznick, head of Continental’s ADAS business unit.
With Continental’s network of communicating systems to operate a self-driving vehicle, it solidifies its ability to handle situations where the weather conditions may not be at best, such as low sun, heavy rain, dense fog, and cold or hot temperatures.
One obstacle facing Continental and AEye: Finding a way for mass marketing the system at an affordable price while also making it accessible for all manufactures. To combat the problem, Continental plans on industrializing the AEye LIDAR technology to mass produce it, therefore allowing the business to make it widely accessible while retaining the quality and affordable price of the technology.
“Our partnership with AEye is unique because it enables Continental to build a new long-range LiDAR in a very short time, based on AEye’s reference architecture and software,” says Gunnar Juergens, head of LiDAR segment at Continental. “We will manage the entire product life cycle, including the development of a mass market product, as well as manufacturing, validation, and testing according to automotive-grade standards.”
For the past 20 years Continental has been introducing new automotive technology to the public while also keeping the affordable price. In 1999, it was the emergency assist brake introduced to the market, and last year, it was the high-resolution 3D Flash LiDAR. Both technologies are mass produced and used in the automotive industry.
Since the success of the partnership between Continental and AEye, the companies have started creating sample vehicles with the integrated system. The samples will act as templates for the incoming productions of the systems at the start of production by 2024. For a smooth production timeline, Continental has already started preparations for build ups for the new autonomous vehicle driving systems.