In collaboration with Vodafone, Continental is developing a digital shield that will above all serve to protect pedestrians and cyclists. According to Rob Gee, Telematics Engineering Manager at Continental, the new technology will help to make the roads a safer place – and what this innovative system has in common with “the Force” in the Star Wars epic.
The idea of a “digital shield” sounds like something from a Star Wars movie, but Gee says their inspiration came because it’s their job – and a matter of honour – to do good. The numbers speak to the situation at hand: With more than 7,000 incidents occurring every day on German roads, the accident rate remains way too high. According to the Federal Statistical Office, the consequences are about 1,060 injuries and 9 fatalities every day, and this is unacceptable. Which is why Continental Tire is committed to reducing the accident rate and to reaching our Vision Zero – a future without crashes.
The digital shield is one of the focal points of their cooperation with Vodafone. It helps to protect precisely the vulnerable road users you just mentioned, who represent about one quarter of the traffic fatalities according to German statistics. The solution is influenced by what pedestrians and cyclists would use, and today, many carry smartphones. Likewise, about half of all new cars sold in the world today include cellular Telematics systems, and this number is rapidly increasing. Without additional hardware or weight, a user’s smartphone can host a software application that can send the individual’s position, direction, and speed to a server via the mobile network base station. This data can then be relayed to nearby vehicles that have cellular telematics or V2X-communications equipment. If the trajectories indicate a potential risk, the system can issue a warning. And because the vehicles have access to additional information such as steering wheel angle and turn signal activation, the system can also reduce the risk of a dangerous situation caused by a vehicle turning across a cyclist’s path.