After retrofitting and updating a pair of trendsetting, already futurist EVs, Bosch has been taking two Tesla Model S electric sedans for automated driving tests (which explains this). The Tesla Model S pair is now part of the Bosch test fleet.
The Tesla driver can relax and might while away a few moments as the Tesla Model S now drives autonomously from the on-ramp to the off-ramp without much interaction or consideration. The driver does not need to oversee the controls continually.
Until modifying these Model S sedans, Bosch has been testing vehicles based on the BMW 325d Touring.
Green Car Congress, reports: “Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management, said that Bosch opted for two all-electric Model S vehicles because they combine two automotive industry trends: electrification and automation.”
After some 1,400 hours of work on each of them, the test vehicles are ready for highly automated driving.
—Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management
Equipped now with 50 new Bosch components, each Tesla gained a stereo video camera (SVC) among the other modernizing retrofits. Now the car determines and distinguishes lanes, traffic signs, and clear spaces. According to Bosch, the SVC is conveniently the tiniest stereo camera system for automotive applications on the market. Thus, the compact design quickly becomes part of the Tesla. Along with the camera’s cool integration, 1,300 meters of cable were laid in each Tesla.
Bosch engineers are working around the world on this. Specifically, the colleagues are in two teams on two continents — working in Abstatt, Germany, and Palo Alto (Silicon Valley), California, they form a global collaboration for Bosch as they test and perfect automated driving. In Germany, system integration is the focus of Abstatt’s Bosch engineers. A similar team in Silicon Valley is advancing function development.
Green Car Congress points out that highly automated vehicles must continue working even if a component fails.
The only way to achieve such operational reliability is by a design strategy that includes redundancy in safety-critical systems such as braking and steering. For example, both test vehicles feature both the iBooster electromechanical brake booster and the ESP braking control system. These Bosch components can brake the car independently of each other, without any need for driver intervention. Back-up systems are also available for the two test vehicles’ power supply and vital ECUs.
One day automated cars will replace cars as we know them. They will also be safer cars with precise life-preserving technology, along with high-tech and time-saving efficiency. It will take a few decades, at least. Elon Musk compares the self-driving car with the elevator. No one thinks twice getting on the elevator — you push your floor, and there you are. Not so long ago, the elevator required a human elevator operator.
Presently, the support of about 2,000 driver-assistance Bosch engineers worldwide share results using identical test vehicles. Initiating the testing of automated drives in 2013 on public roads, Bosch engineers began driving them for several thousand kilometers on freeways. They show favorable results in the A81 near Stuttgart and the I280 in California.
Green Car Congress notes that the technology on board the vehicles is capable of handling any situation in freeway traffic. However, the drivers at the wheel need particular training.
There are more than the line of established car makers interested in the cause. A notable internet success is thinking of the transition and wants to be part of it. See: Google Talking To Automakers About Building Autonomous Cars. Apple is also working on a self-driving electric car.
Before leaving you (for a short time), here is a glimpse of shared manual and automotive Bosch User experience for automated driving:
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