UN specialized agency honors Bosch innovations for improving road safety
In Europe, the number of road deaths has halved over the last 15 years
Need for harmonized allocation of radio frequencies around the globe
Stuttgart/Geneva – In Geneva, Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the Bosch board of management, has been presented with the 2013 World Telecommunication and Information Society Award by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). In giving the award, the specialized agency of the United Nations is paying tribute to Bosch’s efforts to improve road safety. “I accept this prestigious award on behalf of our more than 5,000 engineers whose innovations have made driving safer and more comfortable,” Denner said. According to Dr. Hamadoun I. Touré, the secretary general of the Geneva-based ITU, Bosch has made exemplary use of modern information and communications technologies to improve road safety. In addition to Denner, Ueli Maurer, the president of the Swiss confederation, and Jean Todt, the president of the international automobile federation (FIA), also received awards.
Since the mid-19th century, the ITU has been responsible for global issues relating to telecommunications, including the allocation and registration of radio frequencies. The organization supports the UN’s “decade of action for road safety” campaign, which aims to significantly improve road safety around the world by 2020. “One way we are working toward this goal is with the development of assistance systems which identify potential dangers and warn drivers about them in advance,” Denner said. Radar sensors are a key component of these systems. However, they depend on common, secure frequencies around the world. “Warnings or even emergency braking in critical situations are only possible when there are no disruptions to these systems. To ensure this, it is crucial that the frequency bands between 76 and 81 gigahertz be allocated to vehicle radar applications worldwide. In addition, the technical requirements must be harmonized and regulated globally,” Denner said. “This matter will therefore be a key topic at the 2015 World Radiocommunication Conference, and is one of the areas in which Bosch and the ITU are collaborating.”
In his acceptance speech, the Bosch CEO also called attention to the tremendous progress that has already been made in improving road safety. Thanks to advancements in automotive technology, the number of road deaths in Europe has fallen by half over the past 15 years. These technological innovations include the ESP® electronic stability program developed by Bosch. This system can prevent up to 80 percent of all skids, which account for nearly half of all fatal accidents. Since 1995, Bosch has delivered almost 100 million ESP® systems. The list of countries in which these systems are mandatory already includes Europe and the U.S., and is still growing.
Emergency brake assist provides safety, and adaptive cruise control makes driving more comfortable
Sales of radar and video sensors are skyrocketing
Bosch supplies assistance technology for the new Volkswagen Golf
As the driver’s gaze drifts to the left, the car keeps rolling forward. In the very same moment, the vehicle ahead comes to a sudden stop. While the driver does not notice the impending danger, the Bosch emergency brake assist does, and brings the car to a stop in the nick of time.
The predictive emergency braking function is just one of many assistance technologies that Bosch, being one of the leading automotive suppliers worldwide, offers. The electronics help preserve a safe distance between vehicles. In critical situations, they can warn drivers and brake automatically. At night, the vehicle electronics provide optimum automotive lighting outside city limits – and they do so fully automatically. All this makes driving a safer and more pleasant experience.
For many years, automatic assistance systems were to the preserve of premium-segment vehicle models. However, the technology has now reached vehicles in the compact class. For instance, Bosch has supplied the radar and video sensors for the new Volkswagen Golf.
“With its assistance systems in the new Golf, Bosch has brought safety and comfort to the masses,” says Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division. The sales figures for modern environment sensors clearly illustrate this. Such sensors form the basis of predictive assistance systems, as they monitor the vehicle’s surroundings. From 2011 to 2012 alone, the number of sensors sold around the world more than doubled. And drivers are benefiting from this trend: as a result of mass production, prices have decreased, and more buyers of new vehicles can afford the electronic helpers. In turn, as the sensors become more widespread, the accident risk for all road users will diminish.
Assistance systems become noticeably active in critical situations. For instance, the Bosch emergency brake assist alarms the driver as soon as danger becomes apparent. If the driver fails to react to its acoustic warning, it briefly hits the brakes, and then partially brakes automatically. If an accident can no longer be avoided, full automatic braking can, at the very least, reduce impact speed. The sensor data can be used to precisely adapt the braking force to the danger at hand. At speeds of less than 30 kilometers per hour, however, there is no multi-stage braking strategy. This saves time, and makes it possible to effectively avoid accidents.
Another example is the Bosch adaptive cruise control. The driver sets the vehicle’s speed as always. The car not only maintains the speed, it brakes and accelerates automatically – and can bring the car to a complete halt. In vehicles equipped with automatic transmission, it can even move off on its own following a short stop. With adaptive cruise control, the only thing the driver has to do is steer. All this is made possible by a radar sensor that keeps precise track of the distance to the vehicles ahead.
The multi-purpose camera is another decisive provider of information. It films what is happening up to a range of 120 meters in front of the car. Powerful software analyzes the flow of images at lightning speed. For instance, it recognizes road markings that are important for lane departure warning assistance. If a vehicle approaches the curb line, steering can be gently corrected to automatically guide the vehicle back to the middle of the lane. Road sign recognition functions can also draw on the video sensor data. Comparing these with information from the vehicle’s navigation system means drivers can be warned of speed limits and areas in which overtaking is not allowed. The high beam assistant and dynamic light control functions also use data from the Bosch video camera, which provides the information required to ensure the best possible view without dazzling oncoming drivers.
Assistance and much more In addition to safety and comfort features, the new Volkswagen Golf is equipped with a number of other Bosch technologies, including the car’s diesel injection system, its engine control unit, injection valves for gasoline direct injection, the start-stop system, the alternator, the wiper system, and the engine’s cooling fan, as well as a broad range of sensors.
“SplitView” display presents two different programs
Viewing angle determines what is seen
Space required remains the same
Bosch is currently the only supplier of this screen technology in the European automotive OEM business
The “SplitView” display developed in cooperation by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch for the Mercedes E Class models provides additional functionality and more infotainment convenience in the vehicle. This makes it possible to display two different programs on one monitor, whereby it’s the viewing angle that determines which of the two programs can be seen on the display. The driver, for example, can track the visual navigation information, while the front-seat passenger can choose a different entertainment program – i.e. watch video films, look at the playlist for the iPod or at the radio menu on the same screen. In other words, two different programs run on a single monitor. If desired, the front-seat passenger can use headphones to listen to the sound of an entertainment program, for example, without disturbing the driver. The display can also be optionally operated in single mode so that the driver and the front-seat passenger see the same screen.
Images shown at the same time The “SplitView” monitor consists of a backlit color active-matrix display (TFT-LCD: Thin Film Transistor Liquid Crystal Display) and a special mask that is laid over the liquid crystal layer. The images for the viewing angle from the right and the left are shown at the same time, but are specifically distributed on adjacent pixel columns. Depending on the viewing angle, the mask shows only those pixel columns that make up the right or the left picture. As a result, the viewer sees an image composed of every second pixel so that the horizontal display resolution is cut in half. A patented software algorithm is the guarantee for a brilliant picture whatever the viewing angle.
Two programs on one monitor “SplitView” from Bosch offers double functionality where only a single display was available to date. This eliminates the need to install a second monitor in the vehicle, which would prove difficult in most cases anyway as far as space and safety are concerned; the “SplitView” unit takes up no more space than a conventional monitor.
In addition to the innovative, optionally available “SplitView” technology, Bosch also supplies the new E Class with automotive technology for gasoline and diesel engines, with energy-efficient start/stop technology and with ESP, the Electronic Stability Program.
Bosch wins in the categories “powertrain technology” and “electrics and electronics”
Professor Stefan Bratzel: “Bosch offers high-quality innovations”
Awards for significant innovations that are close to series production
Parking without lifting a finger – Bosch’s automatic parking assistant makes getting into even the tightest spaces child’s play for drivers. This is one of the innovations for which the company has won two awards. The Center of Automotive Management and PricewaterhouseCoopers have given the supplier of technology and services the “2013 Automotive Innovation Award” in the “powertrain technology” and “electrics and electronics” categories. In his commendation, Professor Stefan Bratzel from the Center of Automotive Management said: “Bosch is seen as a highly innovative supplier and its innovations are very high quality.” In addition to the parking assistant, innovations such as the diesel hybrid and the latest improvements to the start-stop system impressed the judges.
The awards were given following a comprehensive analysis of several suppliers. The selection committee examined hundreds of innovations by leading companies. But the sheer number of innovations was not the only thing that counted. What was more important was the degree of innovation and how close the products were to series production. The opinions of major automakers also played a role in the evaluation. The awards were accepted by Wolf-Henning Scheider, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. Dedicating them to his hard-working associates, Scheider said: “These two awards are also confirmation of two fundamental Bosch values: innovative strength and quality.”
He added that the workforce of Robert Bosch GmbH will continue to be an innovative force in the automotive industry. As well as continuously improving internal-combustion engines, the supplier is also working on alternative powertrains for electric vehicles, efficient peripheral systems, and a hydraulic hybrid. In addition, Bosch engineers are focused intently on automated driving as well as on sophisticated multimedia solutions and user-friendly interfaces. Even now, for example, drivers can benefit from more than half a dozen assistance systems that are becoming standard features not only in the premium segment but also in the compact class.