Elmar Fuchs (left) and his son, Lucas (right), work at each end of the engineering spectrum. Together, they’re making the world safer for all road users.
Lucas: I’m a Demo and Benchmark Engineer in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). I was a Continental intern for one year, starting in 2016. I majored in Mechanical Engineering in college, because that’s what I always wanted to do. I thought about working at Continental at some point, but didn’t know it would be so soon.
Elmar: I’m Chief Engineer for Hydraulic Brake Systems. I’ve been at Continental for 32 years. I started in Frankfurt as a designer in brakes, then moved to Brazil for 11 years. Then in 2006 we came here to the U.S. and have been working in Auburn Hills ever since.
Lucas: We’ve never really worked together on projects because our departments are completely separate, but our work does ultimately support #SafelyThere – a campaign aimed to raise public awareness around the life-saving potential of advanced vehicle safety technologies.
Lucas: We’re making sure people are safe while driving. ADAS assists the driver and prevents crashes by alerting the driver or actively intervening. We have cameras, radars and other sensors in ADAS that can detect vehicles, lanes, pedestrians – and then activate the brake or steering system if necessary.
ADAS is still an emerging market and an increasing number of cars are using this technology, however a lot of people don’t fully understand the capabilities. They think because certain parts are automated, they don’t have to pay attention. That’s not the case. The software still has some limitations, but we’re working every day to reduce those. Ultimately, though, having an engaged driver is critical to safety.
Elmar: I’m working with brake calipers and other hydraulic brake components, which is obviously needed for Lucas’s technology. If you are using adaptive cruise control, the system might need to apply your brakes at some point. The foundation of the brakes for this technology is basically the same, but the hardware is changing more because of other requirements like driver comfort. The main goal is to stop the vehicle as quickly as possible, which helps the ADAS technology.
Lucas: Before the pandemic, when we were in the office, we would see each other almost every day. We’d see each other in the garage or walking by each other’s office, but we’ve never really worked together on projects. Day-to-day, our departments are completely separate, even though the technologies we work on rely on one another.
Elmar: I have an office with a view of the test track and I often send him text messages when I see him outside to ask what he is working on at the moment.
Lucas: He keeps track of me so my boss doesn’t have to.
Elmar: We are always interested in learning from each other. Just last week, he came with a question about vibration on brakes, so we talked about what to do. On the other hand, he keeps me updated on the latest developments in his area.
Lucas: What happens a lot is I’ll talk to a person I’ve never met about something and they’ll ask, “Are you Elmar’s son?” I was talking to someone from a different company recently and they mentioned working for him years ago. This happens more often than I thought.
Elmar: It’s fantastic to see Lucas work in future technologies. I think it’s absolutely great, and I’m proud of him. I think he has a pretty nice career in front of him. Continental is a good company with a lot of benefits, especially for young engineers.