Continental CEO expects driver assistance systems to bolster bottom line
Continental offered a glimpse of the future when it equipped a Volkswagen Passat with sensors and a computer, then drove it across the country on “automatic pilot.”
DETROIT -- Supplier Continental AG says it could reap as much as 1 billion euros ($1.3 billion) in annual revenues by 2017 from driver assistance systems, which give onboard computers varying degrees of control over a vehicle's brakes, accelerator and steering.
CEO Elmar Degenhart said today that his company expects to get a significant share of contracts to produce such systems. He gave an anticipated timeline for vehicles' use of the systems.
The first step, Degenhart said, will be around 2015 or 2016 when a partially automated vehicle allows a computer to control its progress at low speeds during stop-and-start highway driving.
"It appears to be science fiction, but it's not," he said. "We believe partially automatic driving will be a reality."
The next step will come around 2020, when highly automated vehicles will control their own progress at high speeds.
And fully automated driving may come around 2025, in which the computer controls the vehicles 80 to 90 percent of the time.
Continental offered a glimpse of the future when it equipped a Volkswagen Passat with sensors and a computer, then drove it across the country on "automatic pilot."
Continental subsequently got a Nevada license to pilot its vehicle there on a test basis, the company said last month.
Degenhart told reporters that Continental will spend 100 million euros ($133 million) this year on r&d for its driver assistance systems.
A number of automakers have displayed prototype systems designed for stop-and-start highway traffic.
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