The technology enables a significantly more detailed and accurate field of vision around the entire vehicle. Image courtesy of Continental.

VIDEO: LIDAR’s Role in Future Vehicle Safety

Automotive supplier Continental has acquired the high-resolution 3D Flash LIDAR business unit from Advanced Scientific Concepts in Santa Barbara, Calif. — a move aimed at strengthening the supplier’s product portfolio of advanced driver assistance systems.

Continental called ASC’s LIDAR (light detection and ranging) technology “a future-oriented solution to add to the group of surrounding sensors needed to achieve highly and fully automated driving.”

Hi-res 3D Flash LIDAR sensor technology provides “both real-time machine vision as well as environmental mapping functions,” Continental said. As a result, the technology will help to enable a much more detailed and accurate field of vision around the entire vehicle – even in challenging lighting and weather conditions.

(To view a Frost & Sullivan video about the role that LIDAR technology is taking in the development of advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles, click on the image or link below the headline.)

“A range of surrounding sensors is needed to progress safely to the higher levels of automated driving,” explained Karl Haupt, executive vice president of Continental’s advanced driver assistances systems (ADAS) business unit and a management board member of the company’s chassis and safety division. “We have strong and proven capabilities with radar and camera as well as data fusion. However, it is important to have Hi-Res 3D Flash LIDAR in our technology portfolio to further strengthen and enhance our leadership position in the development of automated driving.”

ASC engineers will join the chassis and safety division of Continental as a business segment with the ADAS business unit, based in Santa Barbara.

The price for the acquisition wasn’t disclosed.

Back in December 2012, Continental became the first automotive supplier to draw approval from the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles to test autonomous vehicles on the state’s public roads. By the beginning of this month, the company had completed more than 72,000 miles of testing in the highly automated driving mode. In this mode, a test engineer still monitors the vehicle’s performance.

Continental has automated driving initiatives in the U.S., Germany and Japan.