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Continental's autonomous driving head sees significant obstacles

17 July 2019 Tim Urquhart, B.A.

(Excerpt)

The first fully autonomous vehicles to be able to travel on public roads will not be ready until 2030, according to Continental's head of self-driving division Andree Hohm, according to an Automotive News Europe (ANE) interview. Some of the early forecasts for the adoption of complete autonomous driving technology have been proven to be overly optimistic. One of the reasons for this is the concern over the level of technology required to stop a vehicle safely at high speeds in the event of a malfunction. Hohm said, ""People always ask me when driverless vehicles will be on the road' and I tell them the answer is 'today.' If you have a very specific application area, for example like a private road, and want to travel at low velocity, you can buy such a vehicle."

Significance: Continental's Hohm is convinced that the early applications of fully autonomous (Level 5) driving technology will be reserved for low-speed applications such as robotaxis in urban settings. While urban environments may prevent more complex demands on autonomous driving sensor arrays and computing power, they also offer the advantage of providing more opportunities for a fix to be implemented quickly in the event of a system failure or sensor errors. Hohm also added that autonomous driving has three hurdles to overcome before it becomes viable for widespread use: technology, regulatory approval, and consumer acceptance.


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