Fast route calculation and reliable car navigation in road traffic
From destination finding to dynamic route guidance and mobile navigation to navigation as a sensor
Today, Bosch navigation can optimize a vehicle’s aggregate energy consumption
Hildesheim. For more than 25 years, navigation systems have been guiding car users in Germany safely from A to B, and now they are even capable of optimizing the vehicle’s energy consumption. Depending on the topography of the route, eco-navigation can achieve average fuel savings of around nine percent. Accordingly, CO2 emissions can also be reduced significantly.
In 1989 Bosch began series production of the TravelPilot IDS (Identification of Digitized Streets), the first autonomous destination-finding and navigation system for use on European roads. With a map displayed on a 4.5-inch monitor, it kept the driver informed about the vehicle’s current position within the road network and employed simple arrow symbols to indicate the direction to the destination as well as available road links leading to the chosen destination.
Electronic road map for car drivers Twenty-five years ago, the TravelPilot IDS utilized dead reckoning navigation to get a precise position fix within the digitized road network. The system used information from specially installed wheel sensors to work out which route sections the car had driven along, and it detected changes in direction by means of an electronic compass with a magnetic gyroscope. This dead reckoning method was additionally supported by the data included in the road maps. The road layouts of major German cities and the interconnecting road network were stored on a compact disc.
Bosch initially introduced the TravelPilot IDS in Germany in 1989. To increase the precision with which the vehicle’s position could be determined, the system was upgraded in 1993 with a receiver for the Global Positioning System (GPS). During the early years, the Bosch navigation systems were utilized in many areas, though mainly for professional use. At the time, the Los Angeles Fire Department, for instance, equipped more than 400 of its vehicles with the Bosch navigation system to get them to their destination quickly and safely.
Spoken and visual driving recommendations In the mid-nineties, navigation systems were then already capable of providing drivers with directions by means of easy-to-understand voice output and directional symbols. Enhanced software applications developed by Bosch engineers that offered drivers specific information about tourist, cultural and gastronomic destinations and about parking facilities, filling stations and repair workshops were a source of fresh impetus in the field of car navigation technology at the time.
In 1998, Bosch development engineers made navigation dynamic. The systems could then for the first time process traffic reports from the Traffic Message Channel (TMC), which allowed them to react to traffic problems in good time, thus boosting the convenience and safety of car driving still further. With this application, Bosch became the first manufacturer to demonstrate the now-often-cited benefits of connecting cars to the outside world.
Portable navigation devices offer straightforward plug and play The generation of devices emerging during the first decade of the new millennium was strongly characterized by the newly developed market segment of Portable Navigation Devices (PND). These compact units could be installed in any vehicle quickly and easily and featured convenient touch-screen operation. Bosch’s mobile generation already offered early driver assistance functions, like graphical and acoustic speed-limit warnings.
Convenient route planning in connected infotainment systems Vehicle navigation has meanwhile typically become a component of connected infotainment systems offering a wide variety of options. The latest map-based navigation systems from Bosch now provide two- and three-dimensional views, an economic route option for saving fuel, lane guidance, a curve warning assistant, and connectivity to apps that support navigation functions. In addition to this, drivers can also conveniently plan their route on their desktop PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone and send the destination address to the system in their car directly from home.
Navigation as a sensor – the electronic horizon Bosch navigation also provides an "electronic horizon", that is to say, the systems look far ahead and supply information about the course of the route being driven, such as details about bends, road gradients, and driving lanes. This allows Bosch navigation systems to recommend routes that are particularly energy-efficient – thus encouraging fuel-efficient motoring – and, in the case of electric vehicles, enables them to calculate the remaining range with considerably greater accuracy.
Navigation data optimizes aggregate energy consumption In the spring of 2014, Bosch developed a system for hybrid vehicles described as "an innovative technology for reducing CO2 emissions". The system uses navigation data to adjust the vehicle’s battery charge state. The technology that the EU Commission furthermore recognizes as an "eco-innovation" provides a benefit that can be used as a credit to offset the passenger car fleet consumption of the respective automobile manufacturer.
Using topographical navigation data such as uphill and downhill gradients and bend radii, the Bosch system can determine which sections of the route are suitable for recovering braking energy. Long before the vehicle reaches these sections, the system adjusts the level of battery charge based on the navigation data so that optimum recuperation will be possible. "With the intelligent link between extended navigation data and special powertrain control algorithms, we ensure that both fuel consumption and CO2 emissions are reduced significantly," says Manfred Baden, President of the Bosch Car Multimedia division.
Navigation systems can thus nowadays not only provide convenient and safe route guidance from A to B – as they already could 25 years ago – but are also capable of optimizing the vehicle’s aggregate energy consumption.
Smartphone camera reads traffic signs on the “drive by”
Technological prerequisites for highly automated driving functions
Get myDriveAssist free from the App Store or Google Play Store
The myDriveAssist app recently developed by Bosch engineers is able to read traffic signs as well as to record and process other information for new vehicle functions. The data is collected by smartphones on the road, then analyzed by a central server and made available once again to the vehicle applications.
Bosch app warns drivers not to speed The Bosch app available free of charge in the App Store and Google Play Store uses the camera integrated in the smartphone to read traffic signs. With its help, the program recognizes traffic signs as it is “driving by” and identifies speed limits, cancellation signs and no-passing zones. In addition, the myDriveAssist app warns the driver visually and acoustically not to exceed the speed limit.
The traffic signs recognized can also be used to update the digital map stored on a central server: the traffic sign the camera identifies and its position as determined by the GPS receiver are reported anonymously to the central server. You could say that the camera “observes” the surroundings “through the eyes of the cars.”
A maze of signs The information on the surroundings that users gather can be very quickly integrated into the digital map. The speed limits can then be automatically shared with and made available to other road users. This means that drivers are no longer dependent on local traffic signs alone; they can reap the benefits of the latest information available across the entire country. The smartphone myDriveAssist app now helps you to make your way through the traffic-sign jungle and increases traffic safety.
Head-up displays are nowadays increasingly finding their way into more compact car models. They display important information as a projected image so the driver does not need to look away from the road. Bosch has developed a combiner head-up display offering outstanding display quality and precision that the BMW Group has chosen to fit to a variety of its vehicles. This combiner system, which is initially available for the new MINI Hatch, can be fully integrated in the instrument panel.
Head-up displays present information directly in the driver's field of vision. Details like the current speed, navigation recommendations and warnings appear as if suspended in mid-air in front of the vehicle. This has a relieving effect on the driver's vision since the eyes have to refocus less often. "The driver does not need to constantly switch between looking at the instrument panel and looking at what is happening on the road," explains Manfred Baden, President of the Car Multimedia division at Bosch.
The new system belongs to the so-called "combiner" category of head-up displays. The image they generate is combined with the scenery outside the vehicle in such a way that makes them appear to merge with one another at a distance of around two meters in front of the vehicle. The system does not project the information onto the windshield but instead onto a small special plastic screen placed before it. The new head-up system is therefore completely self-contained and can be fitted to various types of vehicle without any major technical modification necessary. The displayed information is invisible to the front passenger.
Precision in high-grade plastic One of the quality characteristics of this new combiner head-up display is that the displayed information remains sharp and distortion-free even when the driver's head moves. This is achieved through the sophisticated optical integration of all elements of the system. One of the technical highlights is the plastic "combiner" screen, which has an aspheric surface.
The tolerance specified for the front surface is extremely tight. The edge of the screen has been milled in such a way to make it level with the driver's line of sight, which means it becomes invisible to the driver, causing the displayed information to merge with the background. The rear side has an anti-reflective coating and the surface is extremely scratch-resistant.
The new head-up display is a part of a self-contained module that can be fully integrated in the instrument panel. The plastic "combiner" screen is driven by a variable-speed electric motor to extend it out of the box when needed. When the system is switched off, the screen fully retracts into the box.
Making driving safer and more convenient The new display comprises an imaging unit and a display unit. The imaging unit is equipped with a full-color liquid crystal display (LCD) with a resolution of 480 by 240 pixels. Similar to a photographic slide, it is lit by a single light emitting diode with a high light intensity. The light signal bounces via folding mirrors to the display unit, whose key component is the "combiner" screen. This projects the image into the so-called "eye box", the region in which the driver's eyes are situated.
The angle of the “combiner” screen can be fine-tuned to suit the driver's height, and the brightness of the displayed information is adjustable by way of sensors or a dimmer wheel. "This new head-up display enables us to reduce the burden on the driver and so make car driving even safer and more comfortable," explains Manfred Baden.