Continental Design Challenge

Automotive Software Design, Development & Testing

Automotive is one of the fastest growing segments in industrial sector throughout the world. Automotive technology continues to evolve at rapid speed in terms function, cost and technology. In a dynamic world that is changing in complex ways, there are always new challenges to face in automotive industry.

How do we provide people with safe, clean, and efficient mobility?
How can we avoid road accidents?
How do we address the increasing digitalization and connectivity of our world in automotive applications?

3 themes of Design Challenges are identified to address some of these aspects:

  • Automated Driving
  • Holistic Human Machine Interface
  • Software Testing

We recommend aspirants to consider one or more of these Design Challenges and develop a prototype or a simulation to demonstrate the solutions. We also encourage teams to bring in more ideas related to these themes.


Design Challenge 1: Automated Driving

- Drivers can sit back and relax

Automation will bring radical changes to some aspects of driving. In the future, increasing traffic density will give drivers time for other activities in the car that are still impossible today. Stop/start traffic and parking in tight parking spaces will no longer be daunting prospects. Advanced driver assistance systems already allow the owner to hand over vehicle guidance to the vehicle in certain situations. There will be a clear progression from partially automated to fully automated driving. Drivers will never lose the dynamism, passion, and enjoyment of driving – at the press of a button, they can turn the systems on or off as desired.

Cruising Chauffeur

Long drives on the highway become more relaxing. Once activated, the Cruising Chauffeur function of the vehicle takes over from the driver and cruises along the highway adjusting its speed to traffic conditions and regulations. The vehicle stays safely in the lane.

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Traffic Jam Assist

Traffic jams are physically strenuous, strain the driver’s nerves, and carry an elevated risk of rear-end collisions. In order to eliminate this risk, we need a Traffic Jam Assist function by which the driver can simply push a button to delegate the task to the vehicle. Braking, starting, and adherence to a safe following distance take place while the driver can keep his hands off the steering wheel.

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Automated Parking

Automated Parking allows the driver to leave the car at a transfer point in front of the parking garage and activate the function.

The vehicle then drives through the barrier automatically, finds a free parking space and parks. When the driver presses a button on their mobile phone, the car returns to the transfer point automatically.

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Road Database

The collective intelligence of vehicles enables highly up-to-date and highly precise road data. This way we build Road Database purely from sample data of standard vehicles and software processing within the cloud.

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Design Challenge 2: Holistic Human Machine Interface

A future Holistic Human Machine Interface will bring joy to everyday driving: Drivers will be able to receive all the information they need. They will be in a constant dialogue with their vehicle – even without words. Drivers will enjoy intuitive ‘user manual-free’ driving with display systems, control elements and other components.

A Holistic Human-Machine Interface organizes information and makes it accessible quickly and clearly, whilst considering the driving situation and the condition of the driver. Moreover, it gives reliable confirmation for every action that the driver initiates, in order to strengthen the trust in the vehicle’s individual functions. This is how the vehicle clearly indicates that the driver is and will remain in constant control of the situation. These are the challenges that a pioneering, holistic Human Machine Interface faces. This applies particularly when looking at future technologies such as automated driving.

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Driver Monitoring

To understand what the driver exactly needs is crucial to offer a real Holistic Human-Machine Interface experience. Therefore we need to gather the current condition of drivers. Driver monitoring shall include gaze target recognition, face recognition or drowsiness classification. Especially during phases of automated driving, it is essential to know the status of the driver and how fast he can take over again the task of driving.

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Gesture Recognition & Control

Gesture Recognition provides for a natural interaction and joy of use. Intuitive operation reduces driver distraction and increases safety. Gesture-based controls in the car integrated into the instrument cluster (dashboard) shall be able to detect the motion of the hand and convert into actions. The driver shall be able to navigate through the menus by swiping up and down, and confirm the selection with a brief tapping motion. Touch-free operation shall also be possible.

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Blind Spot Detection

A quick look at the inside and outside mirrors, perhaps even a fleeting glance over the left shoulder – and then a major fright when there is loud hooting from your left as you pull out to overtake. Failing to see the car approaching rapidly from behind in the left-hand lane or in the blind spot next to your own car easily happens, especially in heavy traffic on multi-lane freeways or highways and in urban traffic as well.

The Blind Spot Detection (BSD) system shall monitor this area and take much of the strain off the driver and avoid hazardous situations. Sensors monitor the road area behind and next to your own vehicle and warn if you try to pull out despite there being no gap.

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Design Challenge 3: Software Testing

It has been observed that most of the errors are identified in the testing phase which is already introduced in either requirement or design phase. However, software testing started later phase in Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC). Errors detected in later phase is more expensive than in early phase.

Enhanced Test Approach

  • Implementation of early software testing phase to detect errors earlier and improve cost effectiveness.
  • How testing should be involved in all phases of SDLC (Eg.: Define test strategy, type of testing).
  • What is the best Entry and Exit Criteria defined in all testing phases involved in SDLC.
  • How we can gain confidence about level of quality (Eg.: What criteria should be judged and why?).
  • Software reporting (Eg.: Informative justification provided to the stakeholders).

Impacts & Benefits of Taking Up the Challenge

  • Teams will be assigned mentor from Continental to provide training, guidance, and expert advices needed.
  • Teams will get support (technical & cost-wise) to build prototypes & demonstrators.
  • Team members will have prioritized access to job opportunities offered by Continental.

Continental develops pioneering technologies and services for sustainable and networked mobility of people and their goods. Founded in 1871, the technology company offers safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transport. In 2017, Continental generated sales of €44 billion and currently employs more than 243,000 people in 60 countries.