Automotive technology

Driver assistance systems are becoming ever more capable Reach destinations safely and stress-free with Bosch

  • Bosch is expanding its range of assistance systems
  • Innovative functions offer increased safety and comfort
  • Legislators and road safety associations aid market penetration
  • Connectivity between vehicles and their environment makes new assistance functions possible
  • Operation must be intuitive for safe driving
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  • October 25, 2012
  • Automotive technology
  • Press releases
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press release

More and more people are spending more and more time in their cars. The number of cars on the road is increasing, and with it the risk of accidents. For the past several years, Bosch has been developing ever more capable safety and assistance systems to help relieve some of the burden of driving. With new functions and improved sensors, the supplier of technology and services will also continue to supprt this shift in the coming years. Summing up the Bosch press briefing in Abstatt, Germany, on October 25, 2012, Gerhard Steiger, the president of the Chassis Systems Control division, says: “Assistance systems make driving safer, less stressful, and more eco-friendly.” Electronic aids already help drivers identify the best route to a destination, provide support in critical situations, and park the car at the end virtually without any input from the driver. In its quest to improve and expand these aids, Bosch is not only developing new systems, but also connecting existing ones to each other and, in doing so, creating new functions. These include, for example, making predictive driving possible and even relieving drivers of the burden of driving in certain situations. The ability for vehicles to communicate with each other opens up even more perspectives. “With each innovation, we move a step closer to the goal of accident-free and fully-automated driving,” Steiger says.

Extensive experience and comprehensive systems competence
When it introduced the first electronically controlled antilock braking system in 1978, Bosch launched a safety system that provides powerful and effective support for drivers. It was followed by the first electronic airbag control unit in 1980, the “Travel Pilot” navigation system in 1989, the ultrasonic parking aid in 1993, and the ESP® electronic stability program in 1995. Thanks to its ability to actively brake a vehicle, this anti-skid system is the basis for many of today's assistance functions. Electric power steering and environment-recognition sensor technology round off this extensive portfolio. “Ultrasonic, radar, and video – Bosch possesses all the sensor technology necessary for driver assistance,” Steiger says, “and with our core competence in vehicle integration, we have the ideal basis for the development of new, even more capable assistance systems.”

Improving safety incites driver assistance
In industrialized countries, the last 30 years have brought a significant reduction in the number of road deaths. To encourage the continuation of this trend, legislators and road safety associations are supporting the development of safety-enhancing systems. For this reason, the European Union is mandating particularly effective technologies such as ESP®. Consumer protection organizations such as NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) consider accident-prevention systems in their vehicle ratings, and thus act as another stimulus for improved road safety. To this end, Bosch is a partner in several joint development projects. For example, automobile manufacturers and suppliers are currently working together on the simTD project to test car-to-x communication and its potential to further improve comfort and safety.

In the emerging markets, by contrast, the rapid increase in vehicle traffic means that the number of accidents and road deaths is also rising. The United Nations estimates that the number of road deaths worldwide will increase by approximately half between 2010 and 2020, to 1.9 million.

Bosch offers customized innovations for every market
When developing safety and assistance systems, Bosch pursues two fundamental strategies. One is to create tangible customer benefits with new assistance systems that make driving even safer and more comfortable. The second is to come up with innovations that make existing systems more cost-effective, so that they can be used in low-price vehicles and in emerging markets. “Only widely-used safety technology can bring us closer to the goal of accident-free driving,” Steiger says.

Analyses of accident databases show that the two things that can significantly reduce both the number and severity of road accidents are the ESP® anti-skid system and automatic emergency braking systems. A review of the German accident database GIDAS, for example, showed that the emergency braking system that went into series production in 2010 has the potential to prevent more than 70 percent of all rear-end collisions that result in personal injury. In 2011, Bosch expanded the system's functions to include automatic braking even at low speeds. When the radar sensor is supplemented by a video sensor, the system can not only identify lane markings and road signs, but can also warn the driver when the vehicle drifts out of its lane, and in conjunction with electric steering support, can even automatically steer it back in. Another advantage of the sensor combination, according to Steiger, arises when radar and video data are merged. When this happens, “the system can also recognize pedestrians and their direction of movement.”

New sensors on the horizon: the right sensors for every vehicle
In 2014, a new Bosch stereo-video sensor will go into series production. Among other things, it will offer fast and accurate 3D measurement of objects. It will also measure the distance to the vehicle ahead at speeds of up to 100 kph, and warn the driver when this distance falls below a safe minimum. This will improve pedestrian safety, and in addition will allow functions such as evasive action and construction site assistants to be realized. “With our stereo-video sensor, we can fulfill all the safety functions required by the EuroNCAP,” says Steiger, pointing out the cost advantage of the new product.

By the end of this year, Bosch plans to expand its radar sensor portfolio to include a mid-range sensor. It uses the 77-gigahertz frequency band, which has been permanently allocated to automotive applications worldwide. Compared with the common 24-gigahertz versions, the 77-gigahertz sensor offers an improved vehicle distance measurement, can distinguish between objects much better, and is extremely compact. In comparison with the long-range models, it offers a significantly lower cost in exchange for only a slightly reduced range. The sensor also provides the basis for ACC adaptive cruise control at speeds of up to 150 kph, as well as for emergency braking systems. When mounted in the rear of a vehicle, it monitors the blind spot and warns the driver of approaching traffic when backing out of a parking spot.

Optimum navigation – whether on long journeys or when maneuvering into parking spaces
Drivers will have their first experience of fully automatic driving while parking. Vehicles already steer themselves into the tightest of parking spaces. All the driver needs to do is lightly apply the gas or brake. But Bosch is already working intensively on fully automatic systems that will take care of even these actions.

Each additional vehicle-guidance function that goes beyond the range of the sensors calls for exact navigational data. This improved map data, called the electronic horizon, will make comprehensive driver support possible in the future, including functions such as the ability to warn the driver not to enter tight bends too fast, and assistance with driving more fuel-efficiently. In the future, route recommendations that are tailored to the vehicle model and road topology will help reduce both driving time and fuel consumption. This system is already in use in commercial vehicles under the name Eco.Logic motion.

Comprehensive connectivity offers even more assistance
In the future, assistance systems will be able to analyze ever more complex traffic situations and act either independently or by supporting the driver. However, this requires networking the vehicle with its environment – for example with other vehicles, with traffic infrastructure, and with the internet. This connectivity will enable the vehicle to identify the quickest route to its destination, taking things like mobile construction sites and current speed restrictions into account. It will also be able to warn the driver about cross traffic and spontaneous weather events such as fog and ice. The new LTE mobile communications standard offers the necessary bandwidth for alerts to be conveyed quickly in critical situations.

A strong market trend is the ability to maintain a constant connection to the internet. Bosch is working on new user and hardware interfaces that will allow the integration of smartphones and offer simple, distraction-free, and intuitive operation. In 2012, an automaker offered the first driver information system head unit to use open source software as standard equipment. Based on Linux, this Bosch system stands out through its user-friendliness, its ability to understand natural speech, and the ease with which it can be updated. Freely programmable displays allow drivers to call up the information they currently need in their preferred layout.

Bosch survey identifies driver expectations
Drivers in Germany, France, and Italy are familiar with modern driver assistance systems, according to a market survey conducted by Bosch in these countries. Around two-thirds of all respondents were of the opinion that such systems improve both safety and comfort while driving. In all three countries, the predictive emergency braking system that recognizes pedestrians was rated the most important driver assistance function. Even fully-automatic driving now has many supporters. About half the respondents said they could imagine using an electronic chauffeur – as long as it could be switched off.


Videos
Bosch driver assistance systems (YouTube)

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Automotive Technology is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2013, its sales came to 30.6 billion euros, or 66 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers (NB: Due to a change in accounting policies, the 2013 figures can only be compared to a limited extent with the 2012 figures). Automotive Technology largely operates in the following areas: injection technology for internal-combustion engines, alternative powertrain concepts, efficient and networked powertrain peripherals, systems for active and passive driving safety, assistance and comfort functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as car-to-car and Car2X communication, and concepts, technology, and service for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In 2013, its roughly 281,000 associates generated sales of 46.1 billion euros. (NB: Due to a change in accounting policies, the 2013 figures can only be compared to a limited extent with the 2012 figures). Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2013, the Bosch Group invested some 4.5 billion euros in research and development and applied for some 5,000 patents. This is an average of 20 patents per day. The Bosch Group’s products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is “Invented for life.”

Further information is available online at www.bosch.com and www.bosch-press.com, http://twitter.com/BoschPresse.

PI7949 - October 25, 2012

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