Continental has developed an integrated solution for interior sensor technology that meets future safety standards and enhances vehicle comfort. The cabin sensing combines camera data with radar sensors and intelligent algorithms to cover the entire vehicle interior. The miniaturised interior camera can be integrated directly and virtually invisibly into a wide range of displays. The technology meets future safety regulations of the European Commission and Euro NCAP.
Ulrich Luders, head of strategy and portfolio at Continental’s business unit Human Machine Interface pointed out that “For the first time ever, we are integrating the camera directly into the display, instead of into the steering column or the instrument cluster. For this, weֹ're relying on extreme miniaturisation of the technology, which opens up completely new positioning opportunities for us.”
The combination of the two technologies and the exact integration and positioning make it possible to develop different applications for cabin sensing. The Continental solution reliably detects live objects in the vehicle, whether they are adults, children or animals. This is particularly important with regard to future safety standards, as Lüders explains: “With our cabin sensing solution, we meet the new requirements of the EU General Safety Regulation (GSR) and also help automobile manufacturers to score well in the Euro NCAP.”
Starting in 2024, the European Commission will include specifications for driver and vehicle monitoring in the type approval requirements of the GSR systems for new registrations and the Euro NCAP will be rewarding the installation of interior camera systems from 2023.
Daniel Naujack, product manager for Interior Camera & Cabin Sensing at Continental. “Based on image information from the interior camera, the system can also detect luggage that has been left behind, and sends a notification to the owner’s cell phone, if for example they have forgotten a briefcase in the rental car.” In the future, cabin sensing will be able to measure and evaluate not only object movements but also health parameters such as pulse, breathing rate, and body temperature. If the system detects a health emergency, it can then stop the vehicle safely with a minimum risk maneuver. “By recording a wide range of vital data through cabin sensing, we will make the car a smart watch for passengers in the future,” summarises Naujack.
A key element in automated driving
Paired with sensor information and software, an interior camera can detect whether a driver is even able to take back manual control. “Automated driving allows drivers to do different things in their cars without having to focus on the traffic. This means that the system must be able to detect whether the driver is immersed in a book or even asleep, so that returning driving control is successful and safe,” says Naujack. Cabin sensing also plays an important role in autonomous driving, so that robo-taxis, for example, know at all times how their passengers are doing.