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Driving is going digital

Kwik Fit | Friday 1st March 2019 9:05am

Electric cars at intersection

We rely on many different forms of digital technology in our everyday lives. However, the implications of the latest digital technology on UK drivers is yet to be fully understood. Some technology currently being developed by tyre manufacturers such as Continental will have a significant impact on our driving experiences.

The car buying experience

The process of buying a car has completely changed due to the increase in accessibility of digital technology. Most people carry out research online into which cars best suit their needs. Due to the large number of statistics and reviews available, drivers are better informed when it comes to choosing which car to purchase. By 2020, it is predicted that over two-thirds of us will use online research to back up their car purchase.

The development of Augmented Reality is changing the way we buy cars even further. Some car manufacturers are given prospective purchasers the opportunity to look at cars as they would in a showroom without having to leave their house. If this becomes common, then the need for physical car showrooms could be eliminated.

Car tyres

The technological innovation doesn’t stop at the car buying process. There are also consistent innovations in the tyre industry. An example of this is Continental’s Tyre Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) which is fitted in many modern cars. The correct pressures are crucial to ensuring the longevity of your tyres and the safety of the vehicle.

This has been taken a step further by Continental who have developed an electronic-Tyre Information System (eTIS). This is designed to alert you to any potentially dangerous changes in your tyre condition such as temperature changes and pressure loss. In addition, this technology aims to improve driver comfort and fuel consumption.

This is only one element of the tyre technology that Continental are working on. The ContiSense and ContiAdapt smart tyre technologies are an important part of Continental’s tyre innovation work. This technology involves electrical signals being sent between sensors in the tyres to a receiver in the car. The result of this is that you will be made aware of any potential issues with your tyres earlier on.

Driving innovation

Although tyres are the subject of significant innovation, they aren’t the only area that Continental are developing. It has been focused on developing digital technology, such as HUD – Heads-Up Displays. In 2018, Continental increased its investment in DigiLens, a company involved with the development of a ‘smart head-up display’ which will improve driver safety and vehicle performance. This shows key vehicle attributes such as speed clearly to the driver so they are more aware of their driving. The technology behind this has been used in aeroplanes and is being adapted for the automotive industry.

Continental are also involved in car technology other than just HUD technology. For example in Mercedes-Benz, BMW or Audis, Continental are involved in creating the electronic displays and sat-nav. This technology is aimed not only at making driving safer but also enhancing vehicle performance.

Smart sensors

One important safety innovation is Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). This technology is now commonplace in many modern cars offering a range of benefits to the driver. Benefits include Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), which assists in monitoring road conditions and braking quickly when necessary. In addition, the development of Electronic Stability Control (ESC), which helps with steering if there is a possible collision.

The most obvious example of autonomous technology is self-parking. This is becoming increasingly common in modern cars and saves the driver from having to park their vehicle themselves. In the future, motorists will see autonomous technology as the norm and most cars will utilise it in some way.

Autonomous vehicles

Working with the BMW Group, Mobileye and Intel, Continental aim to produce fully automated vehicles by 2021. There is also a focus on technology that aims to improve the driving experience. Partnering with Vodafone, Continental are working on traffic jam warning technology and a ‘digital shield for pedestrians. This would work by sharing information from a pedestrian’s phone to vehicles to warn of oncoming traffic as someone crosses the road.

It is not just vehicles that are becoming automated. The digital infrastructure needs to also become autonomous. Smart road junctions and street lamps are some of the first elements of the infrastructure changes. Wireless communications and data processing are areas in which there has been significant advancement. This will enable fully autonomous transportation to be widely implemented.

Technological innovations in public transport are also changing the way people get around. An example of this is Continental’s ‘CUbE’- an autonomous shuttle that transports people to their destination via the most efficient route. Concepts like CubE could also be applied to goods delivery networks to change the way that we send and receive parcels.

Digital is transforming the automotive experience at every level. The digital driving experience has a lot to offer in terms of convenience, safety and performance.


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