Central Chassis Controller Reduces Complexity in Vehicle Electronics
Nov 6, 2008
The Chassis Controller from Continental can integrate all electronic chassis and safety systems together and ensure optimum driver assistance in all driving situations.
Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The Chassis & Safety Division of the international automotive supplier Continental has developed an innovative central control unit that can process all information from a wide array of assistance and safety systems centrally. To do so, the Chassis Controller not only uses fast data lines to access a large number of different sensors in real time, but also synchronizes the interventions carried out by the individual actuators with one another. That means that in addition to being a computing platform, it is also a sensor platform that unites and integrates the sensors present in the various individual parameters in a single location. This function, called Global Chassis Control (GCC), stands for the integration of an increasing number of electronic chassis control systems and delivers enhanced driving comfort and safety at the same time. “Like the conductor in an orchestra, this controller ensures that the many individual players come together to form a harmonious whole. Because everything is coordinated centrally, simultaneous interventions in steering, braking, and shock absorption systems, for instance, can be attuned to each other optimally. This approach to integration is characterized by narrow interfaces, which increase system security. And because of this network, the overall system is even better able to perform, and more secure, by comparison to the coexistence approach used when individual systems that work independently of one another are networked together,” says Dr. Peter Laier, Executive Vice President of the Chassis Components Business Unit at Chassis & Safety.
The Chassis Controller is especially impressive because of one clear advantage: Reducing the number of sensors also drives down the level of complexity of the vehicle’s electronics systems. Advantages of the Chassis Controller – software standardization and fast data communication
The Chassis Controller is especially impressive because of one clear advantage: Reducing the number of sensors also drives down the level of complexity of the vehicle’s electronics systems. Systems that have worked autonomously until now can be networked together. “The overall performance capacity of a network controlled by the Chassis Controller is better than that of the sum of all of the individual components put together,” Laier emphasizes.
Information supplied by onboard cameras or the navigation system on how the road looks ahead can be used to optimize the chassis settings early on, activate rear axle steering, and make certain, by means of a minor intervention in the engine management system, that a tight curve does not turn into a risk of an accident. In its role as coordinator, the Chassis Controller ensures that the individual assistance and safety systems complement each other and boost each other’s effectiveness, rather than working at cross purposes – which in turn means that the ESC has to intervene much less on a tight turn, leading to considerably more harmonious driving overall.
To process the data dependably and quickly, Continental relies on a software package that follows the AUTOSAR standard. It offers a platform ideally suited to integration of various applications and OEM brand software. Communication between the Chassis Controller and the individual sensors and systems within the vehicle also includes FlexRay®, the data bus standard that is new in the automotive design and construction sector.
A big step forward in the implementation of ContiGuard®
Depending on how they are equipped, today’s cars can have as many as a half-dozen or more individual control systems for assistance and comfort systems installed. These systems control the ESC (Electronic Stability Control) feature and adjust shock absorbers and the suspension to the respective driving situation and road conditions. They regulate electrically assisted steering and respond to signals from radar or camera sensors that warn the driver about veering or unintended lane changes. And telematics data can also contribute to enhancing traffic safety. In the course of the car-to-car communication of the future, for instance, information on hazardous situations, such as warnings when a car is approaching the end of a traffic hold up, will be transmitted from vehicle to vehicle. Analysis of navigation data based on the digital roadmap also provides information on potentially dangerous stretches of road. The new Chassis Controller can reduce the level of complexity involved with the individual control units because in the Chassis Controller, integrated sensors can be used by different control systems at the same time, saving computing capacity.
One example of this is the central vehicle condition observation system, which analyzes the comprehensive information collected within the Chassis Controller. Due to the high density of information and data present in the Chassis Controller, the software can decide in fractions of a second whether a danger warning is in fact warranted. Contradictory information on the vehicle’s status is identified immediately, which leads to correspondingly rapid interventions by control systems, ensuring the maximum level of safety. This makes the Chassis Controller an important component of the ContiGuard® safety concept developed by Continental and another step toward achieving “Vision Zero” – the vision of enhancing people’s safety in traffic so well that traffic fatalities and severe injuries no longer occur.
Safety technology is ready for the market
The base technology for the Chassis Controller is already in use in certain models produced by one German car manufacturer. In the future, innovative technologies will further enhance the Chassis Controller’s performance capacity and streamline its design, paving the way for implementation of additional features of ContiGuard®.
Press Release (MS-Word, 60 KB)
Press Image to the issue Central Chassis Controller in the Continental Media Center.
Division Chassis & Safety
60488 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69 7603-8492
Fax: +49 69 7603-3945