We are partnering the Autonomous Mobility Project RealLabHH

Continental is currently working on the Reallabor Hamburg (RealLabHH) project, which is focused on making the mobility of tomorrow a reality with a large trial operation of autonomous shuttles (eMoin) in one of Germany’s largest cities.

The future of mobility is Autonomous Driving. The benefits of autonomous vehicles - making traffic safer, more efficient, and comfortable - maybe clear to experts, but the concern of safety around these driverless forms of transportation continue to exist. Within the Reallabor Hamburg, we are working with powerful partners on making the mobility of tomorrow a reality, for which we are conducting test operations of autonomous, connected, and safe shuttles in Hamburg.

In the city of Hamburg, three eMoin autonomous electric shuttles will offer residents of the Bergedorf district a chance to experience driverless transportation right from their doorstep up to the nearest public transport station. Users can avail this service, much like that of a taxi, through a smartphone app that was developed inhouse. A route is created from several bookings made by different users, where the app’s interface sends all booking requests to our partner German Aerospace Center (DLR), which uses them to put together a logical and efficient route. The shuttles therefore do not stop at fixed points or follow a specific route, and the schedule varies according to demand.

In order to ensure the utmost safety, we have also set a focus on the protection of vulnerable road users, which comprises pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and scooter riders. These road users are particularly endangered in road traffic, and for their sake we are developing a new collision warning system with our partner Deutsche Telekom. As part of the Reallabor project, we test this cloud-based solution in real road traffic for the first time.

SOFTWARE INTEGRATION

The smooth and safe operation of the three autonomous shuttles is enabled by technologies and software expertise from Continental. Our integration software facilitates data exchange with the shuttle operator EasyMile. In addition, for the shuttles to be able to drive autonomously through Hamburg Bergedorf, they rely on a variety of data, which includes sensor data provided by Continental’s radar, LiDAR or cameras, as well as GPS and vehicle orientation data from EasyMile. This is the only way to obtain a holistic image of the overall traffic situation.

However, this data fusion can be complex, because the systems of the various partners involved are different. For the different protocols of the vehicle control systems to communicate with each other and exchange data, the information needs to be “translated,” for which our Automated Driving software stack for receiving and translation comes into play. The program first receives the data from EasyMile and repackages it so that it can also be used by our systems and exchanged via eCAL. 

RADAR AND ITS COMBINATION WITH GPS

The radar system incorporated in the shuttles are a major factor in their ability to drive autonomously through Hamburg Bergedorf. To receive detailed information about the exact position and environment, every shuttle is equipped with Continental’s ARS430 (Advanced Radar Sensor). The radar sensors are especially important to enhance the location accuracy of the GPS data, which is negatively affected by 9buildings on the side of the road and overhanging trees. Three radar sensors are placed at the front and one at the rear of the shuttles to get 360-degree coverage of the environment.

The ARS430 can be flexibly installed in any direction and the software can calibrate the mounting position of the sensor while driving. The sensor realizes a broad field of view while preserving a long detection range because it’s performing two consecutive scans in different modes. Thus, the sensor is capable of being used for high range assistance systems like Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Emergency Brake Assist, as well as for urban use cases like in this project. 

Furthermore, A central computer combines information provided by EasyMile about vehicle dynamics (speed, angular velocity, pre-recorded map), and the observations from the radar to estimate position of the vehicle. The radar sensors also make it possible to display a detailed image of the shuttle’s environment in bird’s-eye view. This same system is also suitable to be used in other scenarios like highways, country roads and car parks.

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