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.
Cleaner and more economical travel in Setra coaches
Profiles of the route ahead are integrated into the driving strategy
Unnecessary gear changes are avoided
New practical test by Daimler identifies significantly lower fuel consumption
Eco.Logic Motion developed by Bosch now also provides Daimler's Setra TopClass 500 coach with fundamental benefits through lower fuel costs and reduced pollutant emissions. "The focus is on optimized engine and transmission control through the use of extended navigation data, such as information about road gradients," explains Manfred Baden, President of the Car Multimedia division at Bosch.
Bosch's Car Multimedia division and Mercedes-Benz Trucks jointly realized the first series production project incorporating Eco.Logic Motion. The system in the Actros that Daimler refers to as "Predictive Powertrain Control" was already introduced in the late summer of 2012. Bosch supplies the hardware, software platform and electronic horizon for this, and Daimler developed the sophisticated algorithms. This cutting-edge technology is now also optionally available in the Setra TopClass 500 coach. It will soon also be making an efficient contribution to resource conservation in further Setra coaches and in the Mercedes Travego, thus quickly paying for itself.
Predictive sensor for more economic driving Eco.Logic Motion acts, so to speak, as a predictive sensor for improving the driving strategy. Through strict separation of the operating software and application software, the hardware developed by Bosch is capable of also taking into account vehicle-specific algorithms and improving the energy efficiency.
Creating the dynamic electronic horizon The system creates a three-dimensional image of the surroundings based on a digital map that also includes information about the slope of the road. This image combined with precise data about the vehicle's location obtained via GPS (Global Positioning System) is used to calculate a preview of the vehicle's surroundings – referred to as the "electronic horizon".
Calculating a strategy for environmentally friendly driving Based on the information gleaned from the dynamic electronic horizon and from the comparison with current vehicle parameters, the application software simulates an environmentally friendly driving strategy. For this purpose, it calculates a suitable speed and an appropriate gear selection for the route section that lies ahead of the coach. This information is then compared with current parameters and is transmitted to the vehicle's powertrain as instructions that are followed by the engine and transmission control units, thus enabling the vehicle, for instance, to accelerate when most appropriate or avoid unnecessary gear changes shortly before the crest of a hill.
Fundamental benefits through significant fuel savings New test drives performed by Daimler on the topographically demanding A6 autobahn have now revealed amazing potential. According to the findings, utilizing Eco.Logic Motion enables an average fuel saving of more than nine percent to be achieved. Accordingly, CO2 emissions can also be reduced significantly. According to calculations by Bosch, for a coach with a high annual mileage and at today's fuel prices, even a reduction in fuel consumption of only one percentage point translates into a decrease in the overall operating costs of around 400 euros per year.
2013: without extraordinary effects, margin of 6 percent
Sales growth of roughly 7 percent in the first three months of the year
Growth between 3 and 5 percent expected for 2014
Market leader in micromechanical sensor technology, a gateway technology
Opening up new and internet-based market segments
One billion euros in sales with driver assistance systems by 2016
Sales to double in Asia Pacific and the Americas by 2020
*Note: Due to a change in accounting policies, the 2013 figures can only be compared to a limited extent with the previously published figures for 2012. The decision to forego the application of proportionate consolidation affects mainly BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH with a consolidated sales volume of some 7.3 billion euros.
Stuttgart – The Bosch Group has started the new year with a good increase in sales. In the first quarter, sales grew by roughly 7 percent. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, the increase was roughly 10 percent. For the current fiscal year, the global provider of technology and services expects its sales to grow 3 to 5 percent. “We continue to move forward with our traditional business and are opening up new fields of business. In so doing, we are benefiting from our broad technological and industrial expertise,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the company's annual press conference. The Bosch Automotive Technology business sector continued its strong business performance of the previous year, growing impressively in the first quarter of 2014. “We have also seen clear growth in our other business sectors. With regard to the regions, business in Asia Pacific is developing especially well,” said Dr. Stefan Asenkerschbaumer, the Bosch CFO. Bosch also aims to further improve result in 2014.
Sensor technology – global market leader for the technology of the future Internet-enabled products and internet-based services are one of the focal points of the company's future sales growth. With its hardware know-how and broad technological expertise, Denner believes Bosch is well prepared to move into this direction. “Bosch's traditional strengths – our innovative strength, high standard of quality, international presence, and the integrative force of our corporate culture – are also valuable in the connected world,” Denner said. Moreover, the company is global market leader in the area of micromechanical sensors (MEMS), a key technology when it comes to networking things on the internet. Bosch's strategic objective is to create solutions for connected mobility, connected industry, connected energy systems, and connected buildings.
Intelligent sensors – basis for the internet of things Sensors enable a new form of technical assistance in day-to-day life. Describing the strategic significance of sensor technology, Denner said: “Whether we are speaking of automated driving or the smart home, a new quality of comfort, safety, and efficiency is developing, and Bosch is creating the technical conditions for this change.” In 2013, the market leader produced one billion micromechanical sensors. This year, a further 30 percent increase is planned. Intelligent sensors are the next level of technological progress. These are equipped with a radio interface and a microcontroller. As a result, sensors are able to transmit relevant data via the internet, for instance to mobile end devices. “Smartphones will not be the only devices to be equipped with sensors. Any 'smart' object will feature internet-enabled sensor technology,” Denner said.
Automated driving – also at higher speeds from 2020 Sensor technology is also a major technological prerequisite for future driving. Modern driver assistance systems require ultrasound, radar, and video sensors. This year, Bosch will produce nearly 50 million ultrasound sensors, 25 percent more than the previous year. The number of radar and video sensors produced will double to more than two million units. As early as 2016, sales of driver assistance systems will exceed one billion euros. By 2020, the company aims to enable automated driving at higher speeds on freeways. In the coming decade, fully automated driving using an autopilot function could become possible. “Automated driving is a technology that saves lives. At the same time, it can spark drivers' enthusiasm, since it offers them support with tiresome driving tasks,” Denner said.
Connected road traffic – new services For driving to be automated, there has to be connected traffic as well as car-to-x communication. By 2025, almost every new car will be equipped with wireless data communication technology. Even now, the connected vehicle makes a broad range of services possible. In 2013, Bosch began offering its eCall emergency call system. When sensors record that a vehicle has had an accident, an automatic emergency call is made. Last year, the Bosch monitoring center processed a good 30,000 emergency calls. In the area of telematics, Bosch offers fleet management services for leasing and insurance companies. “For us, connectivity on the roads not only means efficiency and comfort, it also means safer driving,” Denner said.
Doubling sales in Asia and the Americas by 2020 Asia continues to be Bosch's number one growth region. By 2020, the company aims to double its sales in the region. For this reason, the level of capital expenditure will remain high. From 2010 to 2014, Bosch will have invested some 3.3 billion euros in the region. The company also aims to double its sales in North and South America by the end of the decade. In addition to expanding its manufacturing capacity, Bosch is strengthening its local development activities. In Guadalajara, Mexico, the company is currently opening a new development and software center. In Africa, too, Bosch aims to significantly increase its sales in the years ahead. In 2014, the company will further expand its presence on the continent. In Europe, Bosch aims to grow faster than the market despite the region's economic situation, which continues to be weak. As it expands its international presence, Bosch is also developing a growing number of products and services that are tailored to local customer needs.
The business year 2013 – improved sales and earnings In fiscal 2013, Bosch increased its sales by 3.1 percent, to 46.1 billion euros (*based on an adjusted previous-year figure of 44.7 billion euros). The disclosed sales figure takes the exit from crystalline photovoltaics into consideration as well as consolidation effects resulting from changed accounting policies and acquisitions in the previous year. After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales grew 6.3 percent. As a result of negative exchange-rate effects to the tune of some 1.5 billion euros, the strong euro had a very negative impact on the sales figure. Excluding burdens from photovoltaics, Bosch disclosed a 6 percent EBIT margin. This translates into EBIT of 2.8 billion euros. The positive developments in the Automotive Technology business sector made a significant contribution to the improvement in result. “Also thanks to our many efforts to cut costs, we have taken an important step toward achieving our target EBIT margin of 8 percent,” Asenkerschbaumer said. Even including the extraordinary burden of 1.3 billion euros resulting from photovoltaics, EBIT margin increased to 3.2 percent. Bosch has discontinued the activities in the area of crystalline photovoltaics. The company has now sold most of its activities in this area. The sale of the remaining activities is planned to be finalized in the first half of 2014.
Headcount increased in 2013 – further workforce expansion planned in 2014 In 2014, Bosch expects headcount requirements to increase mainly in the Asia Pacific growth region. Altogether, some 9,000 university graduates will be hired around the world. In Germany, the company is planning to hire some 800 university graduates. The number of new apprentices in Germany will be same as the previous year, at around 1,400. In 2013, the Bosch Group's workforce grew by about 8,500, to 281,000 (*adjusted previous-year figure: 273,000).
Automotive Technology – strong growth around the world in all divisions In 2013, the Automotive Technology business sector increased its sales by 6.7 percent (10.3 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects), to 30.6 billion euros. Its EBIT of 2.4 billion euros and EBIT margin of 7.7 percent were considerably higher than the previous year.
Industrial Technology – packaging machinery sales of one billion euros In 2013, the Industrial Technology business sector's sales amounted to 6.8 billion euros, 9.2 percent below the previous-year level (down 6.5 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects). The difficult economic situation hit the Drive and Control Technology division especially hard. In contrast, the Packaging Technology division developed positively. Overall, the Industrial Technology business sector recorded a negative EBIT margin of 1.2 percent. EBIT showed a loss of 83 million euros.
Energy and Building Technology – connected products for smart heating The Energy and Building Technology business sector increased its sales by 3.9 percent (5.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 4.6 billion euros. The sector improved its result to some 106 million euros. Its EBIT margin came to 2.3 percent. In particular, the Thermotechnology division developed well.
Consumer Goods – market leader for innovative power tools In 2013, the Consumer Goods business sector generated sales of 4.1 billion euros (note: as a result of changes to accounting policy, this figure includes sales of the Power Tools division only, plus some miscellaneous other sales). After adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales were 2.9 percent higher than the previous year. In nominal terms, sales decreased slightly. The Consumer Goods business sector achieved an EBIT margin of 10.4 percent. Its EBIT of 415 million euros included the proportionate after-tax profit of the BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH joint venture. Even without this result, the business sector's EBIT margin was encouraging.
Europe – growth in a difficult economic situation In Europe, Bosch sales grew despite the ongoing difficult economic situation. The company's sales in the region increased 2.2 percent (2.9 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 25.5 billion euros. Sales increased slightly in Germany as well. Bosch invested 1.6 billion euros in Europe in 2013. Especially in eastern Europe, the company is currently expanding its manufacturing capacity. Last year, Bosch invested more than 900 million euros in Germany.
The Americas – strong growth in North America, recovery in South America In the Americas, sales in nominal terms varied considerably in 2013. In North America, Bosch sales grew by 3.5 percent (6.8 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to 7.8 billion euros. This was in part the result of an increase in vehicle production. In contrast, sales in the South American market decreased by 3.6 percent, to 1.7 billion euros. However, after adjusting for exchange-rate effects, sales increased 8.9 percent. Bosch invested some 280 million euros in North and South America in 2013.
Asia Pacific – improvement in China, severe currency effects In Asia Pacific, Bosch achieved sales growth of 5.8 percent (13.8 percent after adjusting for exchange-rate effects) to roughly 11.1 billion euros. Especially in the Chinese growth market, demand for automotive and industrial technology picked up significantly over the course of the year. Demand for automotive technology was also high in Southeast Asia. In India, poor economic conditions meant that business developed less well than forecast. The same applied to Japan. In 2013, Bosch again made considerable investments in Asia Pacific. With some 620 million euros spent, Bosch focused especially on expanding its manufacturing capacity for automotive components.
Research and development expenditure remains high Last year, Bosch spent some 4.5 billion euros, or 10 percent of sales, on research and development. Bosch researchers filed nearly 5,000 patents over the course of 2013, some 20 per working day. The company plans to continue expanding its research and development capacity this year. By the end of 2014, Bosch will have some 45,000 researchers and engineers on board. More than 2,000 additional researchers will be hired in Asia Pacific, for instance. The company is also boosting its innovative strength in Germany, with a new center for research and advance engineering in Renningen, near Stuttgart.
Maintaining cutting-edge research – rapid transfer to industrial application Denner, whose responsibilities on the Bosch board of management also include research and development, called for greater political commitment to promoting innovation: “Policymakers need to set their sights higher.” While Germany is close to spending 3 percent of GDP on research, the private sector has played a greater role in this achievement than the public sector has. Denner deplored the fact that universities were chronically underfunded. In some cases, he said, there was not enough money to pay for the buildings' upkeep. For him, the result was obvious: top researchers were leaving Germany in favor of research institutes in other countries. Denner went on: “In research and development, Germany and other European countries have to measure up to the world's leading countries.” He said that funding must above all benefit basic research, as well as its rapid transfer to industrial application. “Top universities make the regions they are located in more appealing. Companies indirectly benefit from this as well.” Bosch itself is an active member of 250 university research partnerships.