FRANKFURT, Germany — Continental A.G. engineers are developing a "holistic" aquaplaning alert system that uses signals from "surround-view" cameras and tire-mounted electronic sensors to warn the vehicle's driver and engage active stabilization measures.
"Wet road conditions are difficult for a car driver to evaluate," Bernd Hartmann, head of enhanced ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and tire interactions at Continental's Chassis & Safety Division.
"Once you feel your vehicle floating, it is too late. Our aquaplaning-assistance concepts detect the early aquaplaning phase to make the driver aware of what is going on under the tires. This can help drivers or automated vehicles to adapt their speed appropriately to wet road conditions."
The system under development, dubbed "Road Condition Observer," is all encompassing, using input from the tires, tire-sensors, cameras, algorithms, brake actuation and the human-machine interface, Mr. Hartmann said.
According to Conti, aquaplaning occurs when standing water on a road surface is deep enough to cause the tire to lose contact with the road surface and begin to float. Braking and steering are no longer possible, and the driver loses control of the vehicle.
As such, Conti's technicians are focused on predicting and managing the risk of aquaplaning by detecting conditions conducive to it as early as possible so as to trigger an early warning to the driver. Conti aims to do this by using signals from surround view cameras and tire-mounted eTIS (electronic-Tire Information System) sensors.
The Hannover, Germany-based tire and vehicle systems supplier also is working on the control and stabilization of vehicles in aquaplaning situations, such as torque vectoring by individual wheel braking.
Aquaplaning conditions can occur unexpectedly with no opportunity for advance warning, Conti said. In such cases, the potential risk to other vehicles on the road can be mitigated by early car-to-car communication via V2X technology and eHorizon, facilitating a network of solidarity where one vehicle acts as a safety sensor for all other vehicles and not just those in its direct vicinity.