Vehicle blind spots are a constant hazard when changing lanes and cause many serious accidents
A leading European manufacturer is putting Bosch's MRR rear mid-range radar sensor system for rear-end applications into series production
MRR technology is based on fourth-generation Bosch radars
Drivers are taught to assess surrounding traffic before changing lanes by checking their rearview and side mirrors and looking over each shoulder. But even for those who scrupulously follow this sequence of checks, the vehicle's blind spot – the area alongside and just behind the vehicle – is a constant source of danger and often the cause of serious accidents. Drivers are not able to see into this area using either the rearview or side mirrors, but it is big enough for even a minivan to disappear from view and be missed by a cursory glance over the shoulder before switching lanes. To help minimize this risk, Bosch developed the lane-changing assistant, which receives the information it needs from the new mid-range radar sensor for rear-end applications. “The MRR rear means drivers are effectively looking over their shoulders all the time, because it reliably and accurately recognizes other road users in their vehicle's blind spot,” says Gerhard Steiger, president of the Bosch Chassis Systems Control division.
Sensors monitor all traffic in the area behind the vehicle A leading global car manufacturer is currently putting the Bosch system into series production for one of its high-volume mid-sized vehicles. To make changing lanes safer, this European manufacturer has concealed two sensors in the rear bumper – one on the left, one on the right. These two MRR rear sensors monitor the area alongside and behind the car. Powerful control software collates the sensor information to produce a complete picture of all traffic in the area behind the vehicle. Whenever another vehicle approaches at speed from behind or is already present in the blind spot, a signal such as a warning light in the side mirror alerts the driver to the hazard. Should the driver still activate the turn signal with the intention of changing lanes, the lane-changing assistant issues an additional acoustic and/or haptic warning.
The MRR rear system can do much more than just assist with lane-changing, however. These sensors also form part of Bosch's cross-traffic alert system, which supports drivers reversing out of perpendicular parking spaces when their rear view is obstructed. Able to recognize cars, cyclists, and pedestrians crossing behind the reversing vehicle from the left or right at a distance of up to 50 meters, the system alerts the driver to the imminent danger of collision by issuing a timely audible or visible signal.
Significantly smaller and lighter than a pack of butter Bosch's mid-range radar sensor has been a great success. And it is just as effective when facing forward and used to provide information for other driver assistance systems. “Both product versions are based on fourth-generation Bosch radar technology,” Steiger says. The MRR is a bistatic multi-mode radar with four independent receiver channels and digital beam forming (DBF). It operates in the 76-77 GHz frequency band that is standard for automotive radar applications in almost all countries worldwide. Whereas the MRR rear has an aperture angle of up to 150 degrees and a range of up to 90 meters, the forward-facing version looks significantly further: with an aperture angle of up to plus/minus 45 degrees, it can detect objects up to 160 meters away.
Bosch uses the mid-range radar sensor for front-end application to offer solutions such as ACC adaptive cruise control and predictive emergency braking systems, either alone or in parallel. And it so happens that from 2016 onwards, radar- or camera-based predictive emergency braking systems will be a requirement for vehicles hoping to obtain the highest rating in the Euro NCAP test. The Bosch MRR system's compact design also works in its favor. Significantly smaller and lighter than a 250-gram pack of butter, the radar sensor fits into even the smallest cars. As Gerhard Steiger says: “The Bosch mid-range radar sensor is a customized, cost-effective solution that enables radar sensor technology to be fitted as standard in all vehicle segments.”
Extraordinary luminous intensity, high resolution, intense color depth
Maximum flexibility in the display of information
Automotive Interiors Expo Award: “Interior Innovation of the Year”
The new Audi TT comes equipped with an innovative display and operating concept. A display-based instrument cluster replaces the previous technology and bundles all of the instrument, navigation, and multimedia information right in the driver's field of vision. Audi calls this driver-oriented concept the “Virtual Cockpit”. Bosch is the system supplier for this instrument cluster.
The crystal-clear, high-contrast TFT display features extraordinary luminous intensity of 800 candela (cd) for perfect readability under all light conditions. The screen has a diagonal size of 12.3 inches, particularly high resolution of 1440 x 540 pixels, and color depth of 24 bits.
One of the big advantages of a display-based instrument cluster is its versatility in displaying content. The new Audi TT comes with two basic display modes. The traditional mode shows large, digitally produced round gages – but there are no mechanical pointers or other moving parts. The second mode trims down the virtual round speedometer and tachometer and shifts them to the lower corners, leaving plenty of room for a large navigation display, music selections or telephone connections. However, the flexibility inherent in the system would permit other displays as well, even allowing differences in the various vehicle models.
Three-dimensional reproduction of objects The extremely high overall design quality of the display-based instrument cluster is in total compliance with the development requirement for the very best in display quality. It is achieved by the use of a high-performance dual-process architecture. One processor takes care of the graphics while the other handles the remaining functions. Thanks to the exceptionally high computational power, up to 60 frames per second can be generated so that even very fast changes are displayed in a completely seamless flow without any artifacts – an essential requirement for reflecting the specific driving dynamics of a sports car.
In addition, the available computer power is used for the three-dimensional display of objects on the monitor. The most striking visual effect results from the complex, spatial graphics of the round gages, including shadows, so that they appear to be almost real. The graphics module (VCM – visual computing module) has been especially modified for use in the car.
One special design feature is the display shape with the cropped corners corresponding to the installation space planned for the new Audit TT and a complex housing molded to match. The instrument cluster is connected via CAN (controller area network) and MOST (media-oriented systems transport) buses.
The innovation in the “Virtual Cockpit” of the new Audi TT also impressed the jury of the “Automotive Interiors Expo Awards 2014”, who awarded it first place in the category “Interior Innovation of the Year – Series Vehicles” in June 2014.
Bosch also supplies radar and video sensors, lambda sensors, gasoline direct injection systems, and fuel pumping modules for the new Audi TT.
Gasoline engines: Worldwide, gasoline engines are the most popular powertrain. China leads the field: there, nearly 100 percent of all new car purchasers choose a gasoline engine. In the U.S. and Japan, the figure is roughly 75 percent. Engines with port-fuel injection still feature in more than every second gasoline-powered vehicle. Downsizing is becoming ever more popular, and with it the efficient and economical Bosch gasoline direct injection systems. Combining gasoline direct injection with downsizing can reduce fuel consumption by up to 15 percent. At the same time, turbocharging helps the engine deliver more torque, especially at low engine speeds. This improves acceleration and adds to driving enjoyment.
Diesel: In the EU and India, every second new car is a diesel. But outside these core markets as well, the diesel is becoming increasingly popular. The United States, for example, is a growth market. Bosch estimates that diesel's market share there will rise from 3 percent today to as much as 10 percent in 2018. In South Korea as well, diesel is becoming more and more popular. For many Europeans, its benefits are already clear: a modern diesel consumes as much as 25 percent less fuel than a comparable gasoline engine, and delivers as much as 40 percent more torque.
Hybrid and electric vehicles: In Japan, nearly every fifth new car now features a hybrid powertrain. This makes the country the undisputed pioneer of electrification. In just a few years, registrations of hybrids will be significantly higher outside Japan as well. Bosch forecasts that of a predicted 113 million total vehicles sold worldwide in 2020, 6.5 million will be strong hybrids, 3 million will be plug-in hybrids, and 2.5 million will be all-electric (assuming a total of 113 million vehicles sold in 2020). Even now, Bosch is developing a broad product portfolio for this mass market. It ranges from hybrid systems to plug-in hybrids and powertrains for all-electric vehicles. In addition, Bosch is developing entry-level hybrids based on a 48-volt electrical system.
Flex fuel: Powertrains that can drive on both gasoline and alcohol (ethanol) are especially prominent in Brazil. The second largest market for this technology is the United States. The Bosch systems run on pure ethanol as well as any mixture of ethanol and gasoline. Drivers are more independent, since such a flex-fuel system allows them to choose the more affordable ethanol.
CNG: Worldwide, CNG powertrains are becoming increasingly popular. For ten years now, sales have been growing worldwide by 25 percent. In South Korea, CNG-powered vehicles have already captured an 11 percent share of the market. Bosch offers a complete system that allows vehicles to run on this inexpensive fuel at all times. This is a significant advantage for drivers, since CNG is up to 50 percent cheaper than gasoline, and can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 25 percent.