It’s 20 years since the first series-production vehicle equipped with long-range radar came onto the market. Continental played a key role in this joint development with Mercedes-Benz. In the 1999 Mercedes S-Class (W220 series), the auto maker offered its first Distronic adaptive cruise control (ACC) system – the world’s first ACC to use long-range radar. Its range at the time was 150m, making it the most advanced system of its day.
“We broke new technological ground with this system,” said Norbert Hammerschmidt, head of program management for radar at Continental, who was involved in the development of the first long-range radar in 1996. “The radar solution has since firmly established itself. Over 50m long-range and short-range radar sensors have been produced by Continental alone – and the latest, fifth generation of long-range radar is ready to be launched just in time for its 20th anniversary.”
This latest product has a range of up to 300m and an aperture angle of ±60°, depending on the performance required. And while the radar system of 20 years ago was restricted to basic ACC, the latest generation offers emergency brake and traffic jam assistance in addition to stop and go functionality. In tandem with other sensors such as cameras and lidar, these more sophisticated radar sensors are laying the foundation for the development of advanced driver assistance functions and automated driving.
“The complementary metal-oxide radio frequency (CMOS FR) technology, which is now being used for the first time in the fifth generation, will allow us in the future to combine all functions on a single chip, reducing installation space and costs,” added Hammerschmidt.