Mobility Solutions

Two eyes for binocular vision Bosch stereo video camera enhances comfort and safety Driver assistance systems make driving easier

  • Technical basis for automatic emergency braking and construction site assistant
  • Particularly compact stereo-camera platform
  • Rapid 3D measurements provide accurate feedback on object distances and sizes
  • Comprehensive Bosch expertise in image processing and safety systems
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  • October 25, 2012
  • Mobility Solutions
  • Press releases
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press release

We need two eyes to see the world in binocular vision, the capacity that enables us to calculate object sizes and distances and perceive longitudinal motion. Bosch engineers have now succeeded in using a new stereo video camera to give driver assistance systems the same capability. “Stereo technology opens up new potential for video-based safety systems,” says Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. Thanks to its binocular vision, it can measure distances to other objects using the video signal alone. On the basis of this, Bosch is developing functions that can independently take evasive action or steer the vehicle through a construction site. And of course these will work in conjunction with existing assistance functions such as ACC adaptive cruise control and automatic emergency braking.

The new Bosch video camera supplies data for many different tasks. The information it provides can significantly reduce both the risk and the consequences of collisions with vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists at speeds of up to 80 kilometers per hour. It thus offers the ideal basis for improving safety in urban traffic. Gerhard Steiger says: “A mono video camera requires extensive training before it can distinguish between different types of objects, such as pedestrians and cars, in its image field. In contrast, a stereo video camera can measure and detect all the obstacles based only on their movement and distance.” As a result, the stereo camera data alone can be used to trigger an automatic emergency braking process. If an accident cannot be prevented, the speed of impact and thus the severity of the accident can at least be minimized – and by priming the passenger restraint system, airbags and seat belt pretensioners can be deployed in the optimum way.

Automatic emergency braking must offer reliable and consistent performance. To quote Steiger: “You need to have proper safeguards in place to reliably trigger this kind of function, for example by combining video and radar sensors or employing the second eye of a stereo video camera.” The stereo system can of course also perform all the tasks typically associated with a mono video camera, such as recognizing traffic signs, helping drivers to stay in their lane, and automatically adjusting a vehicle’s headlights to take account of vehicles in front and oncoming traffic.

Probably the smallest vehicle stereo-camera system in the market
By integrating the control unit for image processing and function control directly in the camera housing, the Bosch engineers have created a system that is impressively compact. With a 12-centimeter baseline distance, that is the distance between the optical axes of the lenses, the Bosch stereo camera may well be the smallest system of its kind currently available in the field of automotive solutions. As a result, it is particularly simple for automobile manufacturers to integrate into their vehicles. Each of the two CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) image sensors has a resolution of 1.2 megapixels. Thanks to its high-quality lens system, the camera is able to capture an angle of view of 25 degrees vertically and 45 degrees horizontally, and offers a 3D measurement range in excess of 50 meters. The highly light-sensitive image sensors are capable of processing very high contrasts and cover the full spectrum of light visible to the human eye.

Safety requirements are increasing
Also helping driver assistance systems gain market penetration are, on one hand, the European Commission's ever-stricter safety standards, and on the other, the consumer protection organization EuroNCAP (European New Car Assessment Program). Experts anticipate that from 2014, in order to receive the organization’s highest rating of five stars, new vehicle models will need to be equipped with a significant proportion of driver assistance systems. Of these, automatic emergency braking is of particular importance. Steiger sums up the system’s advantages: “Our new stereo camera with its integrated controller combines the functions of mono cameras with the benefits of stereo technology in a single unit. It therefore helps fulfill today’s heightened safety and comfort requirements in a compact and cost-effective way.”

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Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2015, its sales came to 41.7 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with 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. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”

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PI7950 - October 25, 2012

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