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Explosions that save lives

Bosch devices prevent electric shock when electric vehicles are involved in accidents

  • Bosch microchips control small explosive charges attached to electric vehicles’ batteries and isolate the power supply in the event of a collision.
  • More safety for vehicle occupants, rescue crews, and first responders.
  • Bosch semiconductor chips reliably deploy airbags as well.

Reutlingen, Germany. With more and more electric cars on the road, many drivers are increasingly uncertain what they should do or not do in the event of a collision. Electric motors also present rescue crews with new challenges. In fact, like any other vehicle, electric vehicles are equipped with safety features for such events. For example, Bosch semiconductors help prevent the risk of electric shock after an accident. Specially designed microchips deactivate the vehicle’s power circuits in a fraction of a second. This enables rescue crews to set to work immediately and ensures that first responders and the vehicle’s occupants remain safe. “Our semiconductor technology plays a vital role in the safety of hybrid and electric vehicles,” says Jens Fabrowsky, member of the executive management of Bosch’s Automotive Electronics division. Bosch supplies vehicle manufacturers with semiconductor chips for incorporation in special systems that safely disconnect the battery in the event of a collision. “Faced with the growing number of electric vehicles that could potentially be involved in collisions, such systems are absolutely essential if we are to fulfill our mission of helping and rescuing victims of road accidents as rapidly and safely as possible,” adds Karl-Heinz Knorr, vice-president of the German firefighters association (DFV).

Our semiconductor technology plays a vital role in the safety of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Jens Fabrowsky, member of the executive management of Bosch’s Automotive Electronics division

Controlled explosions isolate cables

For a lot of people, damaged cables as the result of an accident are a cause for concern: the current from the battery could leak into the metal bodywork of a hybrid or all-electric car. After all, these batteries are designed to deliver a voltage of 400 to 800 volts. But they can rest assured: Bosch semiconductor chips ensure that the high-voltage battery is automatically disconnected, so that nobody at the scene of the accident – vehicle occupants, rescue crews, first responders – comes into contact with current-carrying components. The semiconductor devices are part of a pyrotechnical safety switch system, or pyrofuse. These systems “blow out” whole sections of the cable connection to the high-voltage battery by means of miniature explosive charges, thus quickly and effectively shutting off the power circulation. Bosch semiconductors play a decisive role in these systems. If, for example, the airbag sensor detects an impact, the tiny devices – measuring no more than ten by ten millimeters and weighing just a few grams – trigger the pyrofuse. This sets off little explosions that drive a wedge into the high-voltage cable between the battery unit and the power electronics, disconnecting the two. By cutting off the flow of current this way, the risk of electric shock or fire is eliminated.

Nowadays, there is hardly any area of automotive engineering that does not involve the use of microchips.

Jens Fabrowsky

Complex circuits on a few square millimeters of silicon

The CG912 integrated airbag system IC used in the pyrofuse system is an application-specific integrated circuit or ASIC. The specific application in this case is automotive safety. “Our ASICs, which are no bigger than a fingernail and yet populated with millions of transistors, are custom-designed to activate safety functions reliably within a fraction of a second,” Fabrowsky says. Originally developed by Bosch to trigger the release of airbags, the CG912 has performed reliably millions of times in this application. Modern vehicles contain dozens of ICs to control not only safety features such as airbags and belt tensioners but also cruise control, distance sensors, high-beam assist, lane-keeping support, rain sensors, and driver drowsiness detection. “Nowadays, there is hardly any area of automotive engineering that does not involve the use of microchips,” Fabrowsky says.

Tags: connectivity, semiconductors, airbag, Vernetzte Mobilität,

Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2018, its sales came to 47.6 billion euros, or 61 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector pursues a vision of mobility that is accident-free. emissions-free, and fascinating, and combines the group’s expertise in the domains of automation, electrification, and connectivity. For its customers, the outcome is integrated mobility solutions. The business sector’s main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 410,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2018). The company generated sales of 78.5 billion euros in 2018. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 460 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At nearly 130 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 68,700 associates in research and development.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, www.iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.

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