A highly or fully automated vehicle steers, brakes, and accelerates autonomously. It has a grip on every traffic situation that an excellent driver should be able to handle. To do so, it must have three fundamental capabilities: It must always know precisely where it is and be able to detect and grasp the traffic situation. It must decide in real time which driving strategy is required to respond to the situation and reach its destination safely and efficiently. Third, it must be able to reliably implement decisions pertaining to the driving strategy with the help of the powertrain, steering, and braking systems.
For an automated vehicle to have a true grasp of its location, it needs high-tech sensors for detecting all its surroundings plus a detailed digital map for determining its position and navigation. The vehicle’s central intelligence, however, is located in the software – a set of adaptive algorithms on the onboard computer. This software
analyzes and interprets the data supplied by the surround sensors. It can determine, for example, if the object near the car detected by the sensors is a pedestrian or cyclist, which direction it is moving in, and at what speed.
By observing a large number of objects, the system can ultimately determine the characteristic behavior of each and thus make increasingly accurate predictions – similar to how people learn from experience. As the vehicle’s artificial intelligence improves, it can compute for instance the probability that a pedestrian will cross the road, giving it time to activate the brakes. Because it can swiftly grasp the situation and respond extremely quickly, the system offers a clear advantage over human drivers.
Chairman of the business sector Mobility Solutions at Bosch
In contrast to human drivers, sensors maintain a 360-degree view of the vehicle’s surroundings at all times and map them with high accuracy. Automated driving requires a variety of surround sensors, such as radar, ultrasonic, and cameras. This combination of various kinds of data, called sensor data fusion, produces a detailed 3D image of the vehicle environment, including all static and moving objects. It is this image that forms the basis for decisions made by the vehicle intelligence. Bosch manufactures the surround sensors needed for automated driving. Many of these are already installed in mass-produced vehicles, where they are in daily use as part of various driver assistance systems.
Precise localization is a basic prerequisite for highly and fully automated driving. To determine its location down to mere centimeters, the car employs high-resolution digital maps that contain far more layers of information than those used by today’s GPS devices. These also help in the planning of individual driving maneuvers, such as when deciding to change lanes. Connectivity with the cloud keeps the map data constantly up to date,
so that even dynamic factors such as traffic jams can be incorporated into the driving strategy.
Bosch has teamed up with TomTom to develop a pioneering solution they are calling “radar road signature.” It uses vehicles’ radar sensors to create key parts of high-resolution maps, literally as the vehicles pass by.
When it comes to automated driving, the concept of protection goes beyond consistently avoiding accidents: automated, connected vehicles also have to be protected against external manipulation. What’s more, there must always be a backup in place in case a safety-critical system fails. Bosch already offers effective solutions for both of these situations.
Should a hacker attempt to access an automated vehicle’s systems, Bosch is at the ready with a multi-layer security concept that rules out that possibility. This concept has specific protective measures, not only for the individual ECUs, but also the internal network, electrics, and electronics as well as the interfaces to the internet and the cloud. As a result, even if hackers manage to get past one of the security measures, they cannot take over the entire system.
In highly and certainly in fully automated vehicles, the driver no longer needs to monitor the system. That is why Bosch has devised solutions that protect the automated system from failures. Safety-critical systems such as steering and braking are thus controlled independently of one another. That means if one
system fails, there is always another system independent of the first that, in a critical situation, is capable of assuming its function and bringing the vehicle safely to a stop.
When the vehicle is in highly or fully automated mode, the driver becomes a passenger and has time free for work, relaxation, or entertainment. This is particularly easy thanks to Bosch’s innovative HMI (human-machine interface) solutions. For example, this alert companion can select music that suits the driver’s mood, provides all the information needed at the right time, adjusts the climate controls, and is otherwise completely tailored to the driver’s individual needs and preferences. In this way, the automated vehicle becomes a third living space that sees to all the driver’s comforts.