Mobility Solutions

The car that thinks and acts Bosch is creating the technical prerequisites for automated driving

  • “Making the transition from partially to highly automated driving is going to be a big step,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management
  • Automotive Steering adds electric power steering to the Bosch automated driving portfolio
  • Increasing automation can tackle the root causes of 37 percent of the road accidents that happen in Germany alone
  • Legal framework must keep pace with technological developments
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  • May 19, 2015
  • Mobility Solutions
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At Bosch, the development of automated driving is advancing in leaps and bounds, and the engineers have now reached a critical point. “Making the transition from partially to highly automated driving is going to be a big step, in both technological and legal terms,” said member of the Bosch board of management Dr. Dirk Hoheisel at the 62nd International Automotive Press Briefing in Boxberg, Germany (May 19–21, 2015). He described how, in highly automated driving, automated systems assume total control of the vehicle for temporary periods. “The driver becomes the passenger,” Hoheisel explained. This, he said, calls for fundamental changes. Aside from the vehicle architecture, we are seeing crucial shifts in the way drivers and vehicles communicate with each other. Highly automated vehicles will also be connected to a server. “Only manufacturers and suppliers with in-depth systems expertise will be successful in making headway in this domain,” Hoheisel said.

Bosch has all the technologies needed for automated driving
Delegating responsibility for driving entirely to the vehicle places particular demands on safety-critical systems such as the brakes and steering. To ensure maximum system stability in the event of the failure of one of these components, redundancy must be built into the system as a safeguard. Bosch already has such a solution for the brakes. In this instance, both the iBooster electromechanical brake booster and ESP brake control system can independently brake the vehicle without the driver having to intervene. This combination of Bosch solutions provides the necessary redundancy; both are indispensable components in any automated vehicle. “Bosch is creating the technical prerequisites for automated driving,” Hoheisel said. All the more so because Bosch has now added electric power steering to the portfolio thanks to its new Automotive Steering division. “Bosch has all the technologies needed for automated driving – not just the powertrain, brakes, and steering, but also sensors, navigation systems, and connectivity solutions,” Hoheisel added.

Highly automated vehicles rely on environmental information – information that goes beyond what sensors can gather. For instance, they need real-time traffic data on congestion and accidents. This can be achieved only by connecting the vehicle to a server. Bosch developed its connected horizon solution to enable exactly this. This system enables a dynamic preview of the upcoming route and corresponding adjustments to driving strategy. “The connected horizon is what allows automated vehicles to think ahead,” Hoheisel said. This is beneficial for the safety and convenience of the driving experience. For instance, connected vehicles are warned in advance of danger spots ahead of a blind bend or hill top and can ease off the accelerator in preparation. Bosch is also giving the provision of real-time traffic data a major boost with its myDriveAssist smartphone app. When the app is active, it uses the smartphone’s camera to detect speed limits along the way and sends the information to a server. The data is then verified before being released to other road users.

People still at the center of automated driving
Whatever the technology, Bosch still places people firmly at the center – and that includes automated driving. “Assistance systems support drivers in critical situations. Automated driving functions relieve them in standard situations, such as freeway driving,” Hoheisel said. He stressed how important it therefore is that drivers trust the system. “Trust builds as long as vehicles keep the driver informed about what they are doing in a way that is easy to understand,” Hoheisel explained. This task falls to the human machine interface (HMI). But when it comes to information supply, less is sometimes more. “Drivers need the right information at the right time,” Hoheisel said, describing the basics of a good HMI.

One crucial aspect of highly automated driving is the transfer of driving responsibility from the driver to the vehicle – and vice versa. In Bosch prototypes, the HMI will notify the driver whenever automated driving is a viable option for a portion of the journey. To activate or deactivate the automated driving mode, the driver has to simultaneously press and hold two buttons on the steering wheel for a period of three seconds. This eliminates the possibility of accidentally activating the automated driving mode. The HMI also provides information about automated vehicle maneuvers. For instance, it warns drivers in advance that it intends to change lane, so that they can monitor the maneuver based on a virtual bird’s eye view. “The HMI adds greatly to the fascination of automated driving technology,” Hoheisel said. Managing the various functions and information calls for innovative operating and display concepts. Here, Bosch already offers appealing HMI display solutions with its freely programmable instrument clusters and head-up displays.

Increasing automation makes roads safer
Bosch’s motivation for developing automated driving is and remains safety on the roads. The UN estimates that each year some 1.3 million people worldwide are killed in road accidents. In 90 percent of cases, the accident can be attributed to driver error. This means that relieving the driver of control of the vehicle in complex or monotonous situations can save lives. “By increasing automation, we can tackle the root causes of 37 percent of the road accidents that happen in Germany alone,” Hoheisel said. This, he said, has been a great motivation for the two Bosch teams working on automated driving since 2011, one in Abstatt near Heilbronn and one in Palo Alto in Silicon Valley. They are supported by some 2,000 Bosch driver assistance developers worldwide.

“Most of the key technical challenges that automated driving presents will have been solved by the end of the decade,” Hoheisel predicted. By 2020, vehicles using Bosch technology could drive themselves all the way from the highway on-ramp to the highway off-ramp, as Bosch prototypes have already been doing on freeways in both Germany (A81) and the United States (I280) since the beginning of 2013. This relies, however, on the legal framework keeping pace with technological developments. Currently, there is a legal constraint in the form of the Vienna Convention on Road Traffic of 1968, which dictates that drivers must retain control of their vehicle at all times. In other words, highly automated driving is currently not permitted. Nevertheless, there are signs of impending changes to the regulations that bind Germany and many other countries. One scenario would involve allowing automated driving so long as the driver was able to override or disable it at any time. Hoheisel concluded by saying: “We are optimistic that policymakers and associations will soon take steps in the right direction.”

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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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PI8904 - May 19, 2015

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