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Auto Shows Continental's Sensor Knows If Someone's Trying to Vandalize Your Car

21:50  06 january  2020
21:50  06 january  2020 Source:   caranddriver.com

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A new type of more sensitive contact sensor would be able to detect subtler incidents than today's parking sensors can.© simonkr - Getty Images A new type of more sensitive contact sensor would be able to detect subtler incidents than today's parking sensors can.
  • Auto-industry supplier Continental has developed ultra-sensitive sensors for cars.
  • How sensitive? They can detect impacts on your car as soft as vibrations from a sound nearby.
  • More important, they can spot when your car gets a parking-lot ding or is being vandalized, all technology that could make it to a production car eventually.

Ever had your car keyed? A new technology from auto-industry supplier Continental could be able to record vandalism incidents thanks to a new set of ultra-sensitive sensors that detect acoustics and vibrations.

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The idea goes like this: a set of eight to 12 contact sensors are distributed across the car’s body, and they respond to minute vibrations and other acoustic events such as rain hitting the car's body, objects (such as bicycles) touching the car at low speeds, and—perhaps most interesting—vandalism such as someone scratching the car with a key.

a car parked in a parking lot: Continental sensor can tell the difference between parking-lot dings and someone deliberately damaging a vehicle.© Continental Continental sensor can tell the difference between parking-lot dings and someone deliberately damaging a vehicle.

If the sensors were to detect such an incident, it could record the exact time when it happened and possibly activate a camera system (such as Tesla's Sentry mode) to record the incident. Other possible uses include more sensitive object detection for low-speed parking, as these sensors are more advanced that the distance parking sensors installed on many cars today; a possible touch detection to allow drivers to enter the car using a smartphone-like finger pad authentication; earlier detection of approaching emergency vehicles by sensing the sound of their sirens; and even a use case for rental car companies to be able to more easily declare a vehicle as undamaged when it is returned thanks to info gleaned from the sensors.

Continental has not yet shared any real-world applications of this new technology, but says that its customers—i.e. automakers—have expressed interest in the system.

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