Continental has developed a Virtual A-Pillar to help remove forward blind spots – making wide A-pillars virtually see-through. The front support pillars, often referred to as A-pillars, anchor the windshield and the beginning foundation of the vehicle’s roof. However, A-pillars have also been identified as visual obstructions for the driver. Over the years, A-pillars have expanded to improve rollover safety and meet more rigorous federal roof-crush standards. This trend poses an increased hazard to pedestrians and vulnerable road users easily obscured from the driver’s view.
In some situations, depending on the pillar’s width, a linear distance of over 36 inches can end up being obstructed at just 12 feet from the pillar. This increases substantially as the distance from the vehicle grows. As a result, the design of the A-pillar is an important factor when trying to increase the driver’s forward field of view.
Continental’s Virtual A-Pillar is designed to address the growing problem on vehicles that need widened front pillars to meet mandatory safety testing. With new flexible OLED displays and advanced head tracking, Continental is bringing enhanced visibility to the driver’s view.
Today, drivers are used to compensating for lack of forward vision by adjusting their position while driving. The Continental Virtual A-Pillar tracks these movements using an interior camera mounted just above the steering wheel. At the same time, Continental’s SurroundView camera, mounted on the vehicle’s exterior, feeds a live video of the vehicle’s external environment to the OLED displays embedded in the A-pillars.
By tracking the driver’s head movements paired with the exterior live image, the Virtual A-Pillar offers a dynamic perspective for the driver, giving the driver an experience more like looking through an extended “window” rather than at a live video feed.