Published: May 25, 2015 | Stuttgart, Germany
Two Model S Teslas have recently been added to the roster of vehicles that Bosch is using as “test vehicles” for automated driving. So far, it has been using test vehicles based on the BMW 325d Touring. Prior to testing, these cars have to be retrofitted with fifty new Bosch components that also includes a stereo video camera (SVC), which the car uses to recognize lanes, traffic signs, and clear spaces. The Bosch SVC is the smallest stereo camera system for automotive applications currently available in the market. Its compact design makes it easy to integrate into vehicles. In addition to the camera, 1,300 meters of cable were laid in each car and fixed in place with 400 cable ties.
This transfer of responsibility from the driver to the vehicle explains why so much time and effort is necessary for the retrofit. Highly automated vehicles must be capable of operating safely 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.
Since 2011, Bosch has had two teams – on two continents – working on automated driving. At the Abstatt location in Germany, Bosch engineers are working on system integration. Their colleagues at Palo Alto in California’s Silicon Valley are driving forward work on function development. The two teams receive support from roughly 2,000 driver-assistance engineers who work for Bosch around the world.
To make it as easy as possible for the two teams to share their results, Bosch uses identical test vehicles. Hoheisel explains why Bosch opted for two all-electric Model S vehicles made by the U.S. automaker Tesla: “They combine two automotive industry trends: electrification and automation.” This presents a particular challenge, he says, but one that Bosch relishes.