CHICAGO (Feb. 8, 2013) — New vehicle research unveiled by Continental A.G. at the Chicago Auto Show is aimed at the "epidemic" of distracted driving.
To address this ongoing concern, Conti has developed a concept car—dubbed the "Driver Focus vehicle"—to test ways to combat driver distraction.
The company cited U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) statistics that each day 10 people are killed and more than 1,100 people are injured in crashes that involved distracted drivers.
"At Continental, we continue to invest in research and development for next generation technologies that will drive us toward a safer future," said Jeff Klei, president of Continental-NAFTA, at the Chicago Auto Show. "This Driver Focus vehicle highlights how the continual integration of new technology, focused on the right issues, can help to further reduce accidents, injuries and fatalities.
"As a company, Continental's strategy is clearly focused on making this type of future technology a reality so that distracted driving, and vehicular accidents as a whole, become a thing of the past."
Conti has integrated in its Driver Focus concept current Advanced Driver Assistance active safety technology with a future interior monitoring system and visual Human-Machine Interface (HMI) technology that provides the driver with a virtual safety-focused companion—or co-pilot—that constantly scans the vehicle's external and internal environments. Coupling these technologies works to make sure the driver's actions and attentiveness match the real time needs of the driving situation, Conti said.
"The integration of surrounding and in-cabin safety technologies gives us the ability to create a very real relationship between the driver, the vehicle and the environment," said Helmut Matschi, executive board member and president of Continental's Interior Division. "With the Driver Focus vehicle technology, we are for the first time able to communicate to the driver based on both the driving situation and in relation to his ability to react at this point in time. It represents the ultimate in HMI, delivering the integration of technology, information and safety systems in a way that supports and assists the driver toward a safer and more enjoyable experience."
The company's concept vehicle features a combination of both production-ready and prototype technology. The key to the success of the technology, Conti said, is the systems integration that provides the driver with seamless and critical information and also actively assists when the driver does not respond to a driving situation due to distraction.
"Human error is the single cause for about 80 percent of traffic accidents. Among these, driver distraction is a serious issue and plays a major role. The reasons are complex and range from driver drowsiness and monotonous driving situations to increased stress and driver information overload," said Dr. Ralf Cramer, executive board member and president of Continental's chassis and safety division. "To combat these realities, Continental utilizes active safety technology to advise drivers of the dangers and assist if necessary."