Continental looks to the electronic future
Continental Corporation is a global supplier of vehicle electronics, brake systems and components for the power train and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, tyres and technical elastomers.
Continental Corporation, global supplier of vehicle electronics, brake systems and components for the power train and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, tyres and technical elastomers, has introduced new electronic products globally, some of which have relevance for the Indian market as well.
Continental's Automotive Group has three divisions: chassis and safety, power train and interior. The interior division, which supplies products for cars, commercial vehicles, two-wheelers and special vehicles, develops and delivers the integrated electronics and mechatronics systems required for operating and networking various vehicle classes.
Reaching for the key fob is the first step in using interior electronics systems. Interior division engineers provide reliable vehicle-to-key fob communication. Vehicles either open with the press of a button or detect that their drivers are approaching and unlock themselves. Once drivers are behind the wheel, the seats automatically adapt to their contours with the help of interior electronics and the intelligent interior climate controls see to it that the inside temperature is pleasant.
Intelligent battery sensor
The intelligent battery sensor (IBS) is a small but crucial component of the stop-start system in today's vehicles. The sensor continuously analyses the charge level of the 12-volt battery. This makes sure that the starter battery has sufficient charge to guarantee the power supply to all other vehicle systems during the 'stop' phase and enough power to restart the engine.
When the battery is full, the sensor can also supply information to say that no further charging is required from the dynamo. This also reduces the workload of the engine, decreases consumption and makes stop-start systems more reliable. The brief drop in voltage of the vehicle's onboard power supply caused by the automatic starting of the engine is covered by the buffer provided by the DC/DC converter. This way infotainment functions like radio and navigation systems continue to function uninterrupted.
Soorajith Radhakrishnan, general manager (engine systems India), while elaborating the relevance of these technologies in the Indian automotive industry says: "Downsizing is a key trend — also in India — with OEs pushing for development of smaller engines, but maintaining or even increasing performance. This is possible only through turbo-charging or through high pressure injection, both of which are part of Continental strategy for growth. Electrification of the drive train assumes great relevance in India due to overdependence on imported fossil fuels and tailpipe emissions, both of which can be cut dramatically by electrification. India has a focused programme called The National Hybrid Propulsion Programme (NHPP), an initiative of the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and the government of India, which provides thrust on hybrids. Weight reduction is again related to CO2 emissions and downsizing wherein lighter components specifically impact the carbon footprint."
Talking about the energy management and electric power steering and also about the Acceleration Slip Regulation (ASR) 300 sensor developed by the chassis and safety division, Murali Srinivasan, managing director - Continental Rico Hydraulic Brake Systems India said: "Electric power steering is yet another technology that the Continental chassis and safety division is actively supporting OEMs in their drive towards CO2 emission reduction. EPS is of particular interest to the Indian market which is primarily a small- to midsize car market. The packaging constraints, along with smaller rack forces on the front axle, are ideally suited for EPS systems which offer a significant benefit to customer driving comfort. Continental India is one of the first suppliers to localise the production of electronic control units for EPS, and has been supplying product locally to the Indian market since the beginning of 2009. The company foresees a rapid expansion in the installation of EPS systems in the domestic market in the next few years. ASR may not be immediately relevant to Indian market but is a technology that is of mid- and long-term relevance to this market.
Continental’s new control unit, one of the most advanced systems on the market, has been well received by vehicle manufacturers and two European manufacturers will be introducing it into production in 2011. Negotiations for further orders are currently underway.
Analysts reckon there will be a substantial increase in the number of LEDs – soon to surpass 800 – in cars, driven mainly by the mushrooming growth in front headlight deployment. Here analysts foresee an overall rise of 150 percent in the next three years.
In the overall analysis, Continental is one of the few tech-friendly companies which are keen to bring in their latest products into the Indian market, getting OEMs interested in working on future trends today.
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