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New technologies are improving road safety
While riding a motorcycle with the wind in your hair provides the ultimate sense of freedom, it is also dangerous. Last year, there were 30,000 motorcycle accidents in Germany alone, 600 of which were fatal. The risk of dying in an accident is 18 times higher for motorcyclists than for drivers of passenger cars. The former group is thus the most at risk of all road users.
Bosch aims to make road traffic safer for motorcyclists and car drivers alike. In cooperation with its partners Autotalks, Cohda Wireless, and Ducati, the company is working on connecting motorcycles and cars so that the vehicles can speak to one another. The new technology makes the data sharing between vehicles possible within a radius of several hundred meters. Via “multi-hopping,” data on vehicle type, speed, position, and direction of travel can be transmitted from vehicle to vehicle. As a result, drivers are aware of an oncoming motorcycle long before it appears in their field of vision. This makes improved predictive driving possible. If the system detects a hazardous situation, it warns motorcyclists and car drivers with an acoustic warning as well as a warning signal in the cockpit.
According to Bosch accident researchers, almost one in three motorcycle accidents could be prevented with this technology. “We are creating a digital protective shield for motorcyclists,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management.
Another Bosch project enhances the company’s commitment to improving road safety: Bosch recently entered a partnership with Sony Semiconductor Solutions with the aim of developing highly innovative video sensors for modern cars. The new camera technology will enable more precise data gathering on a vehicle’s surroundings, even in difficult lighting conditions, for instance when the sun is low. The technology will enhance both driver assistance and automated driving systems.
More information on the major Bosch components for automated driving can be found in this brief glossary.
Find out more about the Bosch commitment to safer roads under Sustainable Development Goal 3 in the Bosch Sustainability Report 2016.
Bosch presents traffic safety solutions
At the Mobile World Congress 2017 in Barcelona, which ended yesterday, Bosch presented smart new solutions for use in the Internet of Things (IoT). Occupying center stage was a concept car with a number of automated driving features. In addition to conveniences such as keyless entry, the automobile offers in particular innovative safety features: if the driver begins to fall asleep, or is considerably distracted, the Driver Drowsiness Detection feature can cause the car to emit a warning signal, and thus prevent a dangerous situation.
The concept car is also the first to offer gesture-controlled operation with haptic feedback. The technology makes use of ultrasound sensors, which allow drivers to feel whether their hand is in the right place. They also give the driver feedback regarding the gesture that has been performed. This, in turn, makes it possible to operate infotainment programs without looking at the controls, and driver can this keep their eyes on the road for much more of the time. In addition, the exterior rear-view mirrors have been replaced by a “Mirror Cam System,” which displays the car’s surroundings with the help of sensors and display screens. What is really special is that when the car is on the highway, the camera automatically extends the viewing angle farther back behind the car, and when in the city, the viewing angle is as wide as possible, to enhance safety. At night, increased contrast levels enhance the driver’s ability to perceive his or her surroundings.
A cloud-based wrong-way-driver warning system
Furthermore, Bosch has developed a cloud-based system that transmits warnings about wrong-way drivers. This system sends information to both the wrong-way driver and to drivers in oncoming vehicles within ten seconds – faster than with a radio-based system. In order to detect a vehicle driving in the wrong direction, the cloud-based feature compares the actual movements of the vehicle with permitted directions as listed in an Internet-based database. The function depends on the regular, anonymous reporting of the vehicle’s position to the cloud – a centrally located computing center in which data from the Internet can be stored and analyzed. The more vehicles are in the network, the greater the system’s capability for providing comprehensive notification of wrong-way drivers.
On the path toward greater road safety, Bosch is also testing a new solution for providing direct communication between vehicles: In this system, networked cars send information regarding speed, position and lane changes directly to all vehicles within a radius of 320 meters – without any detours whatsoever, and thus, without any delay. The rapid and direct communication between cars serves to optimize the flow of traffic, and is designed to help prevent accidents. The new technology is called LTE-V2X and is currently being tested live in cooperation with Vodafone and Huawei on the test section of the A9 Autobahn near Allershausen, Germany.
More information on the solutions that were presented at the Mobile World Congress can be found here.
More information about intelligent mobile communications and networked vehicles can be found here (only in German available).
Bosch study shows what connected mobility will make possible
After a long drive on the highway, the last thing drivers want is a surprise traffic jam around the next bend. And when they finally arrive at their destination, they may have to drive around searching for a parking spot in vain. While this is an all too common situation today, technology may well be a game changer in just a few years time. Highly automated vehicles will warn drivers of oncoming traffic jams and decelerate accordingly, and navigation systems will take over the task of searching for a parking spot at the driver’s destination. Moreover, drivers will no longer need to carry out parking maneuvers themselves – their parking assistance systems will do it for them. While this may still seem like science fiction, connected cars are already equipped with highly sensitive sensors. Via the Internet, they are constantly linked to different clouds.
In cooperation with the Prognos consultancy, Bosch examined the potential impact of automation on road traffic in the Connected Car Effect Study 2025. The two companies analyzed different technologies for personal mobility and their effects by 2025 in Germany, the United States, and China. The model used for the study was based on international vehicle fleet development statistics, accident data, and current research.
Fewer accidents and CO2 savings
Among other things, the study found that driving is becoming safer and more comfortable while vehicles are becoming more efficient. This is the result of technologies that are already well established: “The secret heroes of the connected revolution are the assistance and comfort systems that we are already familiar with,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. With the help of safety systems such as the ESP anti-skidding system and cloud-based functions, in the future about 260,000 accidents could be prevented in the three countries and some 400.000 tons of CO2 could be saved. Moreover, it will one day be possible to integrate smart phones into vehicle infotainment systems and thus offer web-based parking solutions.
For many years, Bosch experts have been developing solutions that not only make road traffic safer, they also increase the efficiency of vehicles. For instance, cloud-based solutions already draw on real-time data to help drivers avoid traffic jams or react to sudden hazards. The most recent example of connected technology is the active gas pedal, which was launched in 2016: with a knocking signal and noticeable vibrations, it not only promotes an energy-efficient driving style, it also warns drivers of dangerous situations.
More information on the Bosch “Connected Car Effect 2025” study can be found here.
An active Bosch gas pedal helps make driving more fuel efficient
The driver’s foot is responsible for one-quarter of fuel consumption. In the past, eco-driving lessons were about the only thing that could be done about this rule of thumb. Now, however, the Bosch active gas pedal provides drivers with extra help. In the form of tapping, vibration, or resistance, it gives drivers haptic signals to let them know they need to change their driving behavior. This innovation can reduce fuel consumption by up to seven percent, which in turn has a positive effect on CO2 emissions. But that’s not all: the active gas pedal can also be connected with other vehicle functions. This not only makes driving more efficient, but also safer.
For instance, with tapping, the active gas pedal lets drivers know when they are driving too fast. In combination with the navigation system or a camera, it also helps drivers detect hazards in potentially dangerous situations. It provides a warning, for example, when the vehicle is driving into a bend too fast. By drawing on online data, the active gas pedal also issues warnings in the event of wrong-way drivers, traffic jams, cross traffic at intersections, or other hazards along the planned route. Combined with the collision warning system, it warns drivers when they should stop accelerating.
In addition to all this, drivers of manual vehicles now receive a haptic signal that tells them when they’ve shifted into the ideal gear. At present, the signal appears as a small arrow on the vehicle’s display. “The pedal shows the point at which acceleration and fuel efficiency are ideal,” says Stefan Seiberth, President of Gasoline Systems. The fuel saving potential of hybrid vehicles is especially high: whenever the vehicle switches from the internal combustion engine to the electric motor and back again, the system issues a signal. Drivers can then adapt their driving behavior accordingly and reduce fuel consumption even further.
More information on the active gas pedal can be found here.