On The Road To Accident-Free Driving – Bosch Is Networking And Automating Vehicles

18th June 2013
ES Admin
Gerhard Steiger, President of Chassis Systems Control, and Dr. Michael Bolle, Executive Vice President Engineering Car Multimedia, at the 61st Automotive Press Briefing in Boxberg, June 2013 All the forecasts agree: the number of vehicles manufactured worldwide will continue to increase, and traffic density with it. Nonetheless, a raft of measures introduced over the past few years have succeeded in significantly reducing the number of road deaths in the established markets. Bosch has played a major role in this development, with the electronically controlled antilock braking system in 1978, with electronic airbag control in 1980, and with the electronic stability program in 1995. All of these are traffic-safety milestones, and each made its market debut as a Bosch product.
The driving force behind any further developments is “vision zero,” the goal of completely eradicating road accidents. Injuries should be a thing of the past, and ideally there should be no accidents at all. Along with ever more widespread use of ABS and ESP, increasingly powerful assistance systems from Bosch are facilitating these efforts to bring about injury-free, and ultimately accident-free driving – and increasing comfort and fuel-efficiency at the same time. Examples include ACC adaptive cruise control, predictive emergency braking systems, and lane-keeping assistants. Very soon, these systems will completely take over individual driving tasks. Bosch is developing these functions and supplying the necessary technology in the form of products such as the new iBooster brake booster, a stereo-video sensor, and a Linux-based multimedia unit.

In the years ahead, a major factor influencing the spread of safety-enhancing functions in Europe will be Euro NCAP's new rating scheme. Starting in 2014, it will only award five stars if at least one assistance function is on board. And from 2016, comprehensive predictive pedestrian protection will be mandatory if this rating is to be awarded. More precisely, it will only be awarded if at least every second vehicle sold actually has this safety technology on board. Just having it available as an extra is not enough. The U.S. and Japan have now also begun to discuss integrating similar criteria into their NCAP regulations. Bosch has all the stipulated systems in its portfolio: both predictive emergency braking and functions that help drivers stay in their lane or warn them when they are exceeding the speed limit.

But Bosch's portfolio of assistance functions goes much further. For example, our ultrasound-based parking assistant can already independently guide cars into a parking space. All drivers have to do is accelerate and brake. Soon, even this will be assumed by the system, and two years from now drivers will be able to control the entire maneuver standing outside the car, using their smartphone. The way forward is also clear for lane-keeping assistance. We are developing a construction zone assistant, for example, that makes slight adjustments to steering based on information provided by the stereo-video camera, allowing it to pilot the car precisely between the central barrier on the one side and trucks on the other. 2014 will already see the series start of the Bosch traffic jam assistant. This can take control in freeway traffic jams – slowing or bringing the vehicle to a stop, accelerating, and automatically steering within the vehicle's lane. It works at speeds up to 50 kilometers per hour, which means that it covers typical stop and go traffic situations. Looking further ahead, these functions will come to include ever higher speeds and more complex driving situations. Eventually, we will have a highway pilot that allows completely automated driving.

Systems supplier with expertise in all areas
Like scarcely any other automotive supplier in the world, Bosch is driving the realization of these assistance functions forward. Comprehensive expertise in powertrains, braking systems, and steering is complemented by a complete portfolio of sensors. In our ZF Lenksysteme GmbH joint venture, we develop electrical steering systems that are available for all classes of passenger car and can be flexibly adjusted to the vehicle requirements of different manufacturers. More than 35 million of these electric steering systems are currently in use in all types of vehicles around the world.

And we are also further improving our braking technology. This year, for example, will see the launch of a true innovation in the form of the iBooster, an electromechanical brake booster that works without a vacuum. It is electronically controlled and designed for any vehicles that coast a lot or drive purely electrically – either for a limited distance or all the time – and whose motors thus no longer create any vacuum. But driver assistance also benefits from this new technology. The iBooster boosts the driver's braking pressure by means of an electric motor. As a result, pressure can be built up nearly three times faster than in pneumatic solutions. Thanks to its electronic control, it can also be controlled far more precisely. This is a great advantage for emergency braking functions, as well as for gentle automatic braking in stop and go traffic, where pressure has so far been built up using the ESP pump. If automakers' models offer a choice of different driving modes, individual pedal characteristics can be defined for each. Moreover, and especially importantly for comfort functions, the iBooster works almost noiselessly and practically without any vibration. It rounds out our modular range for braking systems, with which we can offer the right solution for any vehicle – from compact cars to premium-class plug-in hybrids. Since the system continues to have direct mechanical control over the brakes, in conjunction with Bosch ESP it offers the system redundancy necessary for automated vehicles.

Bosch also has a comprehensive range of braking control systems for motorcycles. The basic systems can be supplemented by a traction control that provides dynamism and safety on loose surfaces such as gravel. At the end of 2013, a motorcycle stability control will go into series production. Designed for high-performance bikes, its ABS control also takes account of riders leaning into bends. In terms of numbers, the greatest potential for improving motorcycle safety exists in emerging markets such as India. To this end we have developed a cost-effective ABS which controls the front wheel exclusively, and which will also be available from this year.

##IMAGE_3_R## Bosch has wide-ranging sensors expertise
But let's return to the car, and specifically to sensors. Ever since 2000, Bosch has been producing high-performance radar sensors that measure distance to the vehicles ahead as well as their relative speed. In early 2013, we manufactured our one-millionth radar sensor, which uses the 77-gigahertz frequency band. But while it took 13 years to reach the first million, the two-millionth sensor will roll off the production lines in just over a year. We are currently starting production of a cost-effective mid-range radar sensor. It also uses the 77-gigahertz frequency band, which has been permanently allocated to automotive applications worldwide. Compared with the more common 24-gigahertz versions, the 77-gigahertz sensor offers improved vehicle distance measurement, can distinguish between objects much better, and is extremely compact. The sensor also provides the basis for ACC adaptive cruise control at speeds of up to 150 kilometers per hour, as well as for emergency braking systems. When mounted in the rear of a vehicle, it monitors the blind spot and warns the driver of approaching traffic when backing out of a parking spot.

A further important product for improving road safety is our stereo-video sensor, which we will be adding to our multi-purpose camera in 2014. Thanks to its combination of two optical elements, it will offer fast and accurate 3D measurement of objects from over 50 meters away. As the first supplier, we are achieving improved pedestrian protection on the basis of this sensor alone. It also makes other new functions possible, for example the construction zone assistant I mentioned earlier. All the safety functions demanded by Euro NCAP can be achieved economically using this sensor. With a 12 centimeter baseline distance, that is the distance between the optical axes of the lenses, the Bosch stereo camera is the most compact system of its kind currently available in the field of automotive solutions. As a result, it is particularly simple for automakers to integrate into their vehicles in a visually appealing way.

We are also further improving the already widely-used ultrasound sensors for parking assistance. In comparison with its predecessor, our current fifth generation reads more accurately, is more compact, and can more easily be integrated into other control units, such as the body computer. Then there are our wide-angle video cameras that show drivers every detail of the area to the rear of the car. Finally, we are working on multi-camera systems that present drivers with a distortion-free, high-quality bird's-eye view of their car and its direct surroundings – a great help when maneuvering. In a next step, the video systems will not only show the pictures they record but also interpret them. Powerful software will analyze the video sequences and detect obstacles and moving objects in the vicinity of the car. The system can then warn the driver in a timely manner and engage the brake if necessary.

A different kind of sensor: the electronic horizon
The navigation system rounds out the list of sensors. This system does not sense its immediate environment, but instead analyzes its digital map data and the vehicle's expected route to create the “electronic horizon” – a detailed, far-sighted preview of the road ahead, which in the coming years will be expanded with data on bends, gradients, and lanes. Existing functions can be further improved with this information:

• The navigation can recommend particularly energy-efficient routes, and in the case of electric vehicles, can calculate the remaining range with considerably improved precision. This can reduce fuel consumption by roughly 10 percent in vehicles with internal-combustion engines, depending on the road network.
• Speed-limiting elements, such as city limits, bends, and speed limit restrictions are also included in the route guidance. By identifying a change in gradient several hundred meters ahead, the system can advise drivers to take their foot off the accelerator at exactly the right moment to reduce their speed as much as possible without braking. This by itself can lead to a reduction in fuel consumption of around 7 percent. When the vehicle also coasts down gradients with its engine stopped, the savings can reach 15 percent.
• In addition to assisting drivers by providing them with important information, this data also benefits automatic assistance functions. In 2012, Mercedes-Benz started series production of a predictive cruise control in heavy long-distance trucks. In accordance with the road gradient, the function automatically regulates speed within a tolerance range in order to reduce fuel consumption. Bosch supplies the electronic horizon complete with its control unit.
Integrating data into the powertrain unlocks even more potential. The next presentation on automobile networking will go into this in more detail.

Connectivity – cars going online
The more comprehensive driver assistance becomes, the more important predictive information will be. The driver assistance systems of the future will need reliable, up-to-the minute data. We are currently setting up the necessary infrastructure to collect this data. This infrastructure collects information gathered by smartphones and vehicle sensors, analyzes it on an central server, and uses it to supplement navigation maps. One example is our “MyDriveAssist” iPhone app. As a vehicle drives along, all the traffic signs that are recognized by the smartphone's camera are displayed to the driver and also uploaded anonymously to a central server in the cloud. When the verified information is transmitted back to the car and shared with its electronic horizon, a number of functions can be further improved. By crowd sourcing traffic data, we fulfill one of the technological requirements for the highly-automated driving functions of the future. Eventually, cars will be able to communicate with each other directly. Participation in a joint project with major German automakers, automotive suppliers, research institutes, and public institutions in the Frankfurt area has allowed Bosch to gather extensive experience in this area, which will be used in further development.

From partly automated to fully automated driving
More than 90 percent of all accidents are caused by drivers. The logical consequence of this is that drivers should be supported as comprehensively as possible, and should ultimately be relieved of certain tasks. This will also make driving more comfortable.

For example, in the future, cars equipped with 360-degree surround sensors will be able to find and drive themselves into parking places in specially-designed lots or parking garages. We call this “valet parking”. Starting with the traffic jam assistant, the level of support for freeway driving will gradually increase. Over the next decade, it will progress from the ever more wide-ranging support of the stop-and-go function to a highway pilot that drives the car from on-ramp to off-ramp completely on its own. Fully automatic driving is coming step by step.
To make automated driving truly ready for series production, however, other fundamental technical milestones must be reached:

• The vehicle must be capable of recognizing everything in its environment. To enable this 360-degree coverage, we will use a powerful fusion of sensor data to link the information from various types of sensors.
• Software security: the function algorithms must be robust enough to safely cope with complex, unfamiliar driving situations.
• Hardware security: the control units, data transmission, and actuators such as brakes and steering must offer the greatest possible availability and security.
• The navigation data must be reliable and up-to-the-minute. The position of the vehicle in relation to objects in its environment – including objects indicated on maps as well as ones picked up by sensors – must be calculated to within a few decimeters. To do this, GPS positioning for rough location and environment sensors for precise location must work together.
• Due to the stringent safety requirements, usual methods of ensuring safety – such as driving tests – are no longer sufficient. New methods of insuring functional safety must be found, in order to minimize the probability of errors.

Augmented reality for ease of use
A key aspect of the success of assistance systems is their user interface. Functions that take over increasingly wide-ranging driving tasks must be intuitive to use and understand. Bosch is thus intensively looking at and testing various approaches. For example, we will make use of head-up displays. Using new visualization processes that are based on augmented reality, we will incorporate information such as driving recommendations or distance warnings into the actual traffic situation in a realistic manner. This process is very well suited to accurately projecting information into the driver's field of view – at the right time, and in the right place, allowing drivers to react to whatever is happening on the road faster and more safely. Our multimodal concepts are another approach to user-friendliness. These unify gestures and touchscreen interfaces with voice control.

We recently teamed up with GM to bring our most innovative driver information system to date into series production. It can be found in Cadillacs under the name CUE – Cadillac user experience. It is characterized by a smartphone-like user interface, and to a large extent can be controlled by natural speech. It is the first Linux-based solution worldwide. The decision was made to use this operating system back in 2008, with the understanding that automotive infotainment requires the same pace of innovation as the internet. As part of our work in the Genivi Alliance for in-vehicle infotainment, we will work on expanding this open source platform with a view to creating an industry standard.

Bosch expands its portfolio in the area of connectivity
Our Automotive Aftermarket division is also expanding its service portfolio in light of increasing automotive internet connectivity. Data is provided by the vehicle's diagnostics interface, and is read by corresponding connectivity hardware. Based on this, for instance, the “fun2drive” smartphone app translates error codes within seconds, and displays information on performance and torque. Of interest to fleet operators is another service currently in the pipeline, which transmits driving and service information as well as error codes for the fleet vehicles, thus enabling the operator to better plan servicing and repair. An electronic logbook and theft alert based on GPS data are examples of further applications. Finally, “Drivelog” is an online platform for drivers which allows them to manage their vehicle data, access comprehensive information on their specific model, and find contact info for a nearby garage. This service has been online for German users since 2012.

In addition, our car multimedia experts are simplifying the integration of smartphones in vehicles with solutions such as “mySPIN”. This software allows iPhone and Android apps to be operated safely and in the usual fashion via the vehicle's display.

Data security will be maintained
As you see, we are networking vehicles and supporting a large number of terminals and vehicle-relevant apps. However, in doing so we must ensure that the high standard of security in the automotive electronics is maintained. Using dual architectures, we will create a strict separation between functions that are relevant for driving, such as driver assistance, and ones that are not, such as infotainment. In the future, a hardware security module will also safeguard the communication in each control unit, and escrypt, which has been a Bosch subsidiary since 2012, is developing software for this.

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