Continental will use the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this coming January as the venue to present the eHorizon system for two-wheelers. The eHorizon system interconnects bikers, offers a shared platform to motorcyclist communities, and allows motorcyclists to share important route information. eHorizon for two-wheelers is based on swarm intelligence, which continuously supplies the digital map in the backend with accurate and up-to-date information.
Continental first introduced eHorizon at the 62nd IAA Commercial vehicles event in 2008 as a concept for a control unit providing other vehicle systems with a digital map preview. The eHorizon constantly sent small data packages via vehicles’ data network (CAN bus); the packets contained information about the stretch of road ahead as well as topographic information. Using this information, the engine control unit, the transmission control device or the driver assistance systems optimized their respective functions.
eHorizon was modular by design. In a basic version, for example, a control unit is integrated in the vehicle that precisely calculates the respective vehicle position with the help of GPS, gyroscope and wheel speed information. As an alternative, the navigation system could provide the eHorizon data; the map data is then continuously transmitted in a standardized data format to the other control devices via the CAN bus.
The individual control units then recreate the virtual road image with the help of an integrated program, referred to as the “Reconstructor”. Each new data package ensures that the oldest data package is then deleted from the control unit’s memory. This effective memory management reduces the system requirements when implementing new functions.
In 2015, Continental began road-testing of testing dynamic eHorizon, which implemented the principle of swarm intelligence from the cloud. (Earlier post.) Continental brought this to CES 2016. (Earlier post.)
To integrate the software for the two-wheeler system, Continental has developed a digital instrument cluster that not only displays all the usual information such as road and engine speed but also contains an information panel, which displays safety-relevant information on the traffic and weather, as well as notifications about incoming phone calls or music. The software prioritizes the displayed information according to the user preference.
To supply the digital map with route data, motorcyclists use a button connected to the instrument cluster that allows them to record their current position and, when they have finished their journey, to enter specific information about the incident and its location. This data will be collated in the cloud, added to an incident map, and then shared with other motorcyclists driving along this route.
The stored data is collated in the cloud and made available to all motorcyclists. Thus the eHorizon informs bikers in advance of obstacles along their route such as road works, accidents, oil or water on the road, or traffic jams and enhances safety not only for them but also for other road users.—Ralf Lenninger, head of the Continental business unit Intelligent Transportation Systems
For this and other functions, Continental has developed a smartphone app equipped with a Bluetooth Connection Manager allowing the smartphone to communicate with the instrument cluster. The app allows motorcyclists to enter navigation destinations and enables the turn-by-turn navigation to be displayed on the cluster. Motorcyclists also have the option of transferring missed call notifications, the time, or charge status of their smartphone from the phone to the display.
The Bikefinder function allows motorcyclists to locate their motorcycle even in a busy underground parking lot, using Bluetooth Low Energy and Radio frequency. The cluster-integrated immobilizer can also be deactivated using the app and the start of the engine can be permitted by using the Bluetooth-based smart key. If the vehicle systems detect that an accident has taken place, they can use the smartphone connection to send automatically an emergency text message to a predefined contact. To ensure that the continuous connection between the smartphone and instrument cluster does not take its toll on the phone battery, a USB charging capability is also provided.
Through this app platform, Continental gives motorcyclists the opportunity to create communities and allows existing motorcyclist groups to share data digitally. Motorcyclists can use the app to share information such as distance ridden, places visited, or anything else of interest with all the other people in the group. A dedicated web page has been created for this purpose. The integration of instrument clusters and eHorizon is not limited to any specific motorcycle class, which means that even smaller motorcycles could potentially be connected. The design and content of the platform can be easily adapted in line with manufacturers’ requirements.