Mobility Solutions

50 million electric steering systems Key technology for electric, automated driving

  • Electromobility and automated driving require electric steering
  • A production milestone: 50 million electric steering systems produced worldwide
  • Servolectric® from Bosch saves up to 0.8 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers
  • Production worldwide, in Europe, North America and China
  • Seven out of ten Bosch power steering systems are currently electrically driven
Stuttgart/Schwäbisch Gmünd – Electric steering is expanding fast: as an indispensable component in driver assistance systems, such as lane-keeping or parking assistance, it is appearing more and more frequently as a standard feature in modern cars. In addition, it saves on fuel compared with hydraulic power steering – up to 0.8 liters per 100 kilometers driven, depending on the driving cycle. The growing importance of electric steering systems can be credited with a major milestone at Bosch: at Schwäbisch Gmünd, the 50 millionth Servolectric® came off the production lines on 22 July 2015, twelve years after the start of production. “The next 50 million certainly won’t take another twelve years”, says Christian Sobottka, Chairman of the Automotive Steering Business Division of Bosch, in view of the heavy demand.

The market shares for electric steering will keep on rising. For electrification and automated driving – two important trends for the future of the global automotive industry – electric steering is a key technology. For example, only electric steering is used in electric cars, since the power supply from a combustion engine is not available for hydraulically assisted steering.

Automated driving: interaction of steering, brake and sensors
During automated driving, vehicles take the wheel themselves in certain situations, for example during freeway driving, and by doing so they ensure greater safety and comfort. The interlinking and interaction of the steering system with all the important components in the vehicle are central factors. These include for example the ESP brake control system, the engine control unit and the surround sensors. These components are designed and produced by Bosch – one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers – also in their millions. A further focus of research and development activities is the interlinking of the components to create software-controlled total systems. Bosch has for example perfected a solution that allows a rig comprising a car and trailer to be maneuvered from outside the vehicle using a Smartphone.

Out of ten Bosch-made steering systems, seven have an electric drive
Electric steering systems are coming off Bosch production lines in Europe, North America and China. At present, around 70 percent of its power steering systems are being built with electric drive. By comparison: in 2009 that proportion was still 40 percent. For 2020, Bosch expects that hydraulic systems will only make up ten to fifteen percent of the total steering systems produced.

Contact person for press inquiries:
Andreas Ziegele
phone: +49 7171 31-3481
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  • July 22, 2015
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Future of mobility Bosch and TomTom partner on innovative mapping technology for automated driving

  • High-precision maps are essential for highly automated driving
  • Bosch is using TomTom maps in its automated test vehicles
  • Freeways and freeway-like roads in Germany to be digitized for automated driving by the end of 2015
  • Maps for highly automated driving have to be accurate to decimeter precision
  • Collaboration will result in innovative vehicle positioning concepts
The development of automated driving is a puzzle with many pieces. Together with the Dutch map and traffic provider TomTom, Bosch is getting closer to the complete picture. The two companies have agreed to collaborate in the area of maps for highly automated driving. Under this agreement, TomTom is designing the necessary maps, while Bosch, on the basis of its systems engineering work, is defining the specifications these maps have to meet. Even now, the maps are already being used in the automated vehicles Bosch is testing on certain public roads in Germany (A81) and in the United States (I280). Commenting on the importance of this venture, the Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel says: “Only with high precision maps will automated driving on freeways be possible from 2020.” And Jan Maarten de Vries, Vice President Automotive at TomTom, adds: “By the end of 2015, we want to have new high-precision maps for automated driving for all freeways and freeway-like roads in Germany.” Road coverage will subsequently be extended to the rest of Europe and North America.

Multiple map layers, significantly increased accuracy
Maps for highly automated driving and the maps used in current navigation systems differ primarily in two respects. First, accuracy is significantly higher – down to decimeter precision. Second, the map material for highly automated driving consists of multiple layers. The traditional base navigation layer is used to calculate routes from A to B, including the sequence of roads to be driven. The localization layer uses a novel positioning concept providing highly accurate map data, which the automated vehicle uses to accurately calculate its position within a lane. To do this, the vehicle compares its sensed environment with the corresponding information in the localization layer. In this way, the vehicle can accurately define its position relative to the road and its surroundings. On top of the localization layer, the planning layer contains not only attributes such as lane divider types, traffic signs, speed limits, etc., but also 3D information about road geometry, including curves and slopes. With the help of this very detailed lane information, the automated vehicle can decide things such as when and how to change lane.

In highly automated driving, safety and comfort depend crucially on map material that is up to date. For example, up-to-the-minute speed-limit information has to be available instantly. Only then can vehicles select the best proactive driving strategy. In this regard, Bosch and TomTom rely on several elements and services to keep the map data up to date: the TomTom mapping fleet will continue to be regularly on the road, accurately mapping new roads and routes. And to register recent changes on the roads, such as changed lane configurations or new traffic signs, TomTom and Bosch plan to use feedback from fleets of vehicles equipped with the necessary sensors. Information about changed road conditions captured this way will be transferred to a server, verified, and entered in the digital map database. The updated map will then be fed back to the highly automated driving vehicle, enabling it to see effectively beyond its sensors.

Extension of existing, successful partnership
For Bosch and TomTom, this collaboration in the area of maps for highly automated driving is an extension of an already existing, successful partnership. For Bosch’s connected horizon, TomTom also provides dynamic map information via their real-time service backend – albeit without any localization layer. In this way, the connected horizon makes it possible to predict the route ahead and adapt driving strategy accordingly. This solution was demonstrated for the first time in 2014, at the IAA Commercial Vehicles trade show in Hanover. The system recognizes potential black spots behind hills, or the start of a traffic jam, at an early stage, and automatically reduces the speed of the vehicle well in good time. This considerably reduces the risk of rear-end collisions. In addition, smoother driving behavior means more comfort for the driver and improved fuel efficiency for the vehicle.

Contact person for press inquiries:
Robert Bosch GmbH
Jörn Ebberg, phone: +49 711 811-26223

TomTom
Yann Lafargue, phone: +31 (0)208500002
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Automated driving Future technologies driving current Bosch growth

  • Booming market for driver assistance systems will usher in automated driving
  • Bosch expects driver assistance systems to generate sales of one billion euros in 2016
  • In 2014, Bosch delivered more than 50 million surround sensors for the first time
  • Bosch expects to manufacture its ten-millionth radar sensor (77 GHz) in 2016
  • Increasing automation has the potential to cut accident rates by up to another third in Germany alone
Stuttgart – For Bosch, automated driving is not just a pipe dream. The supplier of technology and services is already achieving commercial and technological success in this area today. “Automated driving will be ushered in by the booming market for driver assistance,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. Bosch's sales in this field are currently increasing by a third every year. Hoheisel adds: “In 2016, our sales in driver assistance will exceed one billion euros.” As a systems supplier and one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, Bosch benefits especially from its broad product portfolio.

From powertrain to connectivity – Bosch provides everything from a single source
Like barely any other automotive supplier, Bosch is an expert in all the technologies needed for automated driving. These include not just the powertrain, brakes, and steering, but also sensors, navigation systems, and connectivity solutions inside and outside the car. As Hoheisel says: “Bosch develops everything, from the individual components to the entire system.” For example, Bosch sensors are in great demand: Last year, the company set a new record by selling more than 50 million surround sensors for driver assistance systems. The number of radar and video sensors sold doubled in 2014 – and will do so again in 2015. When it comes to the radar sensors used in systems such as ACC adaptive cruise control, Bosch leads the market worldwide. Its ten-millionth radar sensor (77 GHz) is expected to roll off the line this coming year.

Some 2,000 engineers work on driver assistance at Bosch
The number of associates Bosch employs in this field attests to the growing success that the company enjoys. Currently, about 2,000 engineers are working on refining driver assistance systems at Bosch. That's a good 700 more than just two years ago. Driver assistance systems serve as the basis for automated driving. Even today, they are helping drivers change lanes, stay in their lane, and brake when encountering an obstacle. But development doesn't stop there: a European automaker is now offering production vehicles that feature not only assistance systems for taking evasive actions and turning against oncoming traffic, but also the Bosch traffic jam assistant. “As we move toward self-driving cars, we will be premiering many new assistance systems,” Hoheisel says. The insights and experience that Bosch gains from these will feed directly into the development of automated driving, giving it some serious momentum.

In 2020, cars should be driving themselves on the freeway – just as Bosch
prototypes have been doing on the A81 in Germany and US Interstate 280 since the beginning of 2013. However, if this is to happen, the legal framework will have to keep 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 not yet legal. Nonetheless, there are signs of impending changes to the regulations that apply both in Germany and in many other countries. One possibility would allow automated driving so long as the driver is able to override or disable it. Discussions are underway on how to revise the regulations to permit this exception. But validation puts up another obstacle: using current methods, an autopilot system has to complete several million kilometers' worth of testing before it can be released for production. Bosch is working on new approaches here as well.

Automated driving improves safety, efficiency, and comfort
For Bosch, automated driving is about making road traffic safer. Every year, an estimated 1.3 million people around the world are killed in road accidents. In 90 percent of cases, the accident can be attributed to human error. “In critical traffic situations, the right support can save lives,” Hoheisel says. Bosch accident research predicts that increasing automation can lower accident rates even further – by up to a third in Germany alone. And automated driving makes road traffic not only safer, but also more efficient. U.S. studies indicate that applying predictive driving strategies when on the freeway can result in fuel savings of up to 39 percent. However, a car with an autopilot also opens up a new driving experience – it becomes a home on wheels.

Related link: www.automated-driving.com

Contact person for press inquiries: Jörn Ebberg, phone: +49 711 811-26223

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