AI research for automated driving

Continental and TU Darmstadt continue PRORETA research cooperation


Technology company Continental is continuing the series of its PRORETA research projects, together with TU Darmstadt, the University of Bremen and TU Iaşi (Romania). PRORETA 5 is dedicated to one of the most challenging tasks for automated driving: recognizing complex traffic situations in inner cities and how algorithms from sensor data can deduce the correct driving decisions in these situations. By the end of 2022, algorithms based on artificial intelligence (AI) should be developed and tested for the entire chain of effects of automated driving.

At an unregulated intersection, for example, it is a challenge to correctly interpret all objects related to the intended direction of travel – including their direction of movement, intention and priority – without human intervention. Artificial Intelligence (AI) plays a key role in this. AI methods are to be tested when the implementation of traditional approaches becomes too complex or reaches its limits. The main advantage of the AI is that, following a training period, it is able to draw its own correct conclusions based on its learning, even in unknown situations. This element is reflected in the slogan “urbAn drIving.”

Division of Tasks: More Than the Sum of the Parts

The PRORETA 5 project (2019–2022), which is based on a three-and-a-half-year term, is examining the algorithms of cognition, behavior prediction and decision making in a demonstration vehicle built and equipped by Continental. At the end of the project in September 2022, the aim is to assess the performance of the new AI-based automation for SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Level 4, using the widest possible range of inner-city scenarios and thus demonstrate the potential for future deployment. The algorithms based on artificial intelligence should be able to correctly recognize and interpret these types of complex traffic scenarios, resulting in correct driving decisions being made. A sub-area of this will to observe how a human driver reduces and assesses the complexity of the environment. The learning-capable algorithms of the PRORETA 5 project will be trained in accordance with similar principles in order to achieve a driving performance comparable to that of humans.

Research contribution of the TU Darmstadt

The long-standing cooperation between Continental, the Institute of Automotive Engineering at TU Darmstadt, under the management of Professor Hermann Winner, and the Control Methods and Robotics Lab, under the management of Professor Jürgen Adamy, also forms an essential foundation for PRORETA 5.

In order to cover the individual processing steps along the active chain of automated driving with new solutions in an optimal and time-efficient manner, the current PRORETA project has been extended to an inter-university and international level. The long-standing, proven cooperation between Continental and TU Darmstadt, which has dedicated itself to individual sub-tasks of driver assistance and automation, is forming the basis for the integration of further universities in the current research cooperation.

The project coordinator for the universities, Professor Hermann Winner, Director of the Institute of Automotive Engineering at TU Darmstadt, confirms the importance of interdisciplinary collaboration:

“The teamwork between Continental industry experts, doctoral candidates and students offers the opportunity to develop state-of-the-art future technology for the mobility of tomorrow and do so very realistically with regard to vehicles. This cooperation is valuable to both parties.”

The team at TU Darmstadt is focusing on the topics of systems and safety engineering, trajectory planning and control technology. The vehicle, which was initially trained in Bremen, will be handed over to TU Darmstadt for further test drives during the course of the project.

In addition to the TU Darmstadt, the University of Bremen and Gheorghe Asachi Technical University Iași (Romania) are involved in PRORETA 5.

Continental AG/mho


The TU Darmstadt has a long-standing partnership with the technology company Continental. The joint project PRORETA is named after the chief boatswain on ancient Roman ships who warned of shoals.