Today international automotive supplier Continental announced in its Media Webcast for fiscal year 2015 the acquisition of the Hi-Res 3D Flash LIDAR business from Advanced Scientific Concepts, Inc. (ASC) based in Santa Barbara, California. This innovative technology will further enhance the company’s Advanced Driver Assistance Systems product portfolio with a future-orientated solution to add to the group of surrounding sensors needed to achieve highly and fully automated driving.
One significant advantage of the Hi-Res 3D Flash LIDAR sensor technology is that it provides both real-time machine vision as well as environmental mapping functions. This technology will help to enable a significantly more detailed and accurate field of vision around the entire vehicle, independent of day or night time and robust in adverse weather conditions. Continental is working on a family of sensors to address different requirements around the vehicle, to allow function optimized mapping and segmentation of the entire surrounding. “A range of surrounding sensors is needed to progress safely to the higher levels of automated driving,” said Karl Haupt, Executive Vice President, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) Business Unit and Member of the Management Board, Chassis & Safety Division. “We have strong and proven capabilities with radar and camera as well as data fusion. However, it is important to have Hi-Res 3D Flash LIDAR in our technology portfolio to further strengthen and enhance our leadership position in the development of automated driving.”
With the closing, ASC employees, primarily engineers, will join the Chassis & Safety Division of Continental as a business segment within the ADAS Business Unit, based in Santa Barbara, California. Head of the new segment High Flash Lidar is Arnaud Lagandré. The company is planning to grow to over 100 engineers in this area of technology in the longer term. The companies agreed not to disclose the price for the acquisition.
“At Continental, we continue to invest in research and development for next generation technologies – such as automated driving – that will drive us toward a safer, more efficient and more comfortable future,” said Frank Jourdan, Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG and President of the Chassis & Safety Division. “As a company, Continental’s strategy is clearly focused on making this type of future technology a reality. It's clear to us that automated driving will be a key element in the mobility of the future and therefore the development and enhancement of our advanced driver assistance systems portfolio is the basis,” he added.
In December, 2012, Continental was the first automotive supplier to earnapproval from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s public roads. Continental’s testing license is for the company’s highly automated vehicle. The company has completed approximately more than 72,000 miles of testing in highly automated driving mode, accompanied by a test engineer monitoring the vehicle’s performance. In addition to the U.S. and Germany, Continental also started an Automated Driving initiative in Japan.