Dr. Ralf Cramer, Continental AG chassis and safety on Driving the Nation

Dr. Ralf Cramer is the President and Member of the Executive Board, Chassis & Safety Division, Continental AG. Dr. Cramer is responsible for integrating active and passive safety with driving dynamics. He oversees the Business Unit’s Electronic Brake Systems, Hydraulic Brake Systems, Sensorics, Passive Safety & ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and Chassis Components.

This may not sound sexy, but it is a Six billion Euro annual business that employs 30,000 workers, 6,000 of them engineers. Between the passive safety and active safety Continental has a goal, called Vision Zero, with car manufacturers of first no fatalities then no accidents. Continental is firmly entrenched in North America already. They are working with groups in China, Brazil, Europe, India and Japan to bring safety to the cars and to make them standard.

Dr. Cramer talked to me about the Volvo XC60 that comes standard with Continental’s lidar sensor system that can
be linked to any ABS/ESC braking system. The sensor system makes it possible for the car to make an emergency stop up to 15 miles per hour. Dr. Cramer said that IIHS reported that the Volvo XC60 reported 51% fewer bodily injury claims than competitive SUVs, and 27% reduction in frontal crash claims versus other SUVs.

Electronic stability Control (ESC) was proven so beneficial that it was eventually required on all cars. Forward Collision warning is not a government requirement, but the market is starting to request it.

Is Continental working on ways to reduce costs for technology, so that the price of safety doesn’t make the car more expensive?

At the same time we were interviewing Dr. Cramer Continental AG announced the intention of SK Innovation and Continental Corporation to team up for powering electric vehicles worldwide: Both corporations signed a Heads of Agreement that describes the formation of a joint venture with which both companies want to develop, manufacture and market Lithium Ion battery systems for automotive applications.

About the Author:

Lou Ann Hammond is the CEO of Carlist and Driving the Nation. She is the co-host of Real Wheels Washington Post carchat every Friday morning and is the Automotive, energy correspondent for The John Batchelor Show and a Contributor to Automotive Electronics magazine headquartered in Korea. Hammond is a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year (NACTOY), Women's World Car of the Year (WWCOTY), and the Concept Car of the Year.