Super truck will turn roads into data highways: Bosch VisionX

Bosch VisionX

  • VisionX concept study provides a glimpse into the future of truck driving
  • Automated driving in platoons will take the strain off drivers, improve economic efficiency, and make driving safer
  • Hybridization and connectivity help improve the overall cost picture

Stuttgart/Hannover – At the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles trade fair, Bosch will be presenting a 40-ton smart device in the form of a truck tractor – all part of its VisionX concept study on the future of commercial vehicles. “Connected, electrified, and automated – that’s the future of trucks. And that’s what Bosch has encapsulated in VisionX,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. One of the many technologies envisaged in VisionX is platooning. Besides making life easier for drivers on long journeys, this also represents a significant safety improvement. What’s more, platooning offers a major boost to transport efficiency.

Platooning: automated slipstream driving on the freeway

In the future, multiple assistance systems will combine with automation to make trucks safer and more reliable – almost as if they were on rails. Vehicles will receive all the data they need in real time from the Bosch IoT Cloud, including information on their route, traffic congestion, detours, and the unloading facilities available at their destination. This lets them avoid downtime. What’s more, some aspects of driving will be taken over by the truck itself. For instance, once it reaches the freeway, it joins a platoon – a kind of freight train composed of trucks. In such a platoon, the truck is one of a number of trucks all following a lead vehicle to which they are electronically connected and linked. With the convoy members accelerating, braking, and steering in sync, automated driving reaches a whole new level, increasing safety and taking the strain off drivers. The driver steers the truck until it receives data identifying a suitable convoy. The same applies when the truck leaves the platoon to exit the freeway; at that point, the driver resumes control to complete the journey in manual or partially automated mode.

„Connected and automated trucks are the future, and we are looking to play a major part in their development.“
Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH
Making life easier for drivers, particularly on long-haul routes

“Once the truck joins a convoy on the freeway, drivers can start planning their next route while still remaining in complete control. They can access all key information on the screens in their cab and take the wheel if they need to,” says Heyn. “Connected and automated trucks are the future, and we are looking to play a major part in their development.”

Boosting efficiency through hybrid technology and convoying

Increasing efficiency still further will continue to be a major focus in the future. That’s why the Bosch VisionX concept study takes the diesel engine – which is particularly economical in the world of heavy goods transport – and combines it with electric motors for auxiliary systems such as the hydraulic pump. Trucks of the future will benefit not only from this hybrid technology, but also from the advantages of convoying, which include improved safety thanks to coordinated braking, accelerating, and steering, as well as a significant economic plus. “In a convoy, you can combine the safety gains of automated driving with the efficiency boost that is so crucial to the commercial vehicle sector,” says Heyn. “Slipstream driving enables fuel savings of up to 10 percent. That’s a strong argument in the commercial vehicle industry.”

VisionX as part of the connected logistics chain

“Perfectly connected like a smart device, the truck of the future will become a key component of international logistics processes,” states Heyn. Bosch’s new systems will make drivers’ lives easier in many ways – from accepting shipping documents and loading the truck, to carrying out automated maneuvers once the truck arrives at its destination. By accessing the Bosch IoT Cloud, hauliers and customers will be able to track where the truck and its cargo are located at any point in time. What’s more, drivers will be able to find and reserve parking spaces along the route, making the journey less stressful.

Innovation is in the details, too

Although a truck’s fuel consumption plays a key role in the total cost of ownership, other factors also play a major part, such as the losses incurred when trucks stand idle. The Bosch VisionX concept study shows how much scope there is for optimizing this situation in the future, too. For example, predictive maintenance can monitor the technical condition of a truck in real time and inform the freight forwarder of any maintenance work or repairs that are due. This is the best way to plan breaks in a truck’s schedule, thus keeping downtime to a minimum and further boosting transport efficiency.

Source: Bosch Media

New Tech Promises to Boost Electric Vehicle Efficiency, Range

Researchers at North Carolina State University have developed a new type of inverter device with greater efficiency in a smaller, lighter package – which should improve the fuel-efficiency and range of hybrid and electric vehicles.

Electric and hybrid vehicles rely on inverters to ensure that enough electricity is conveyed from the battery to the motor during vehicle operation. Conventional inverters rely on components made of the semiconductor material silicon.


Now researchers at the Future Renewable Electric Energy Distribution and Management (FREEDM) Systems Center at NC State have developed an inverter using off-the-shelf components made of the wide-bandgap semiconductor material silicon carbide (SiC) – with promising results.

“Our silicon carbide prototype inverter can transfer 99 percent of energy to the motor, which is about two percent higher than the best silicon-based inverters under normal conditions,” says Iqbal Husain, ABB Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at NC State and director of the FREEDM Center.

“Equally important, the silicon carbide inverters can be smaller and lighter than their silicon counterparts, further improving the range of electric vehicles,” says Husain, who co-authored two papers related to the work. “And new advances we’ve made in inverter components should allow us to make the inverters even smaller still.”

Range is an important issue because so-called “range anxiety” is a major factor limiting public acceptance of electric vehicles. People are afraid they won’t be able to travel very far or that they’ll get stuck on the side of the road.

The new SiC-based inverter is able to convey 12.1 kilowatts of power per liter (kW/L) – close to the U.S. Department of Energy’s goal of developing inverters that can achieve 13.4 kW/L by 2020. By way of comparison, a 2010 electric vehicle could achieve only 4.1 kW/L.

“Conventional, silicon-based inverters have likely improved since 2010, but they’re still nowhere near 12.1 kW/L,” Husain says.

The power density of new SiC materials allows engineers to make the inverters – and their components, such as capacitors and inductors – smaller and lighter.

“But, frankly, we are pretty sure that we can improve further on the energy density that we’ve shown with this prototype,” Husain says.

That’s because the new inverter prototype was made using off-the-shelf SiC components – and FREEDM researchers have recently made new, ultra-high density SiC power components that they expect will allow them to get closer to DOE’s 13.4 kW/L target once it’s incorporated into next generation inverters.

What’s more, the design of the new power component is more effective at dissipating heat than previous versions. This could allow the creation of air-cooled inverters, eliminating the need for bulky (and heavy) liquid cooling systems.

“We predict that we’ll be able to make an air-cooled inverter up to 35 kW using the new module, for use in motorcycles, hybrid vehicles and scooters,” Husain says. “And it will boost energy density even when used with liquid cooling systems in more powerful vehicles.”

The current SiC inverter prototype was designed to go up to 55 kW – the sort of power you’d see in a hybrid vehicle. The researchers are now in the process of scaling it up to 100 kW – akin to what you’d see in a fully electric vehicle – using off-the-shelf components. And they’re also in the process of developing inverters that make use of the new, ultra-high density SiC power component that they developed on-site.

A paper on the new inverter, “Design Methodology for a Planarized High Power Density EV/HEV Traction Drive using SiC Power Modules,” will be presented at the IEEE Energy Conversion Congress and Exposition (ECCE), being held Sept. 18-22 in Milwaukee. Lead author of the paper is Dhrubo Rahman, a Ph.D. student at NC State. The paper was co-authored by Adam Morgan, Yang Xu and Rui Gao, who are Ph.D. students at NC State; Wensong Yu and Douglas Hopkins, research professors in NC State’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; and Husain.

A paper on the new, ultra-high density SiC power component, “Development of an Ultra-high Density Power Chip on Bus Module,” will also be presented at ECCE. Lead author of the paper is Yang Xu. The paper was co-authored by Yu, Husain and Hopkins, as well as by Harvey West, a research professor in NC State’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

The research was done with the support of the PowerAmerica Institute, a public-private research initiative housed at NC State and funded by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy under award number DE-EE0006521. FREEDM, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, is aimed at facilitating the development and implementation of new renewable electric-energy technologies.


Local clouds for greater road safety

Buildings, hedges, or a truck – these objects can quickly obscure drivers’ view, especially at intersections. If a road user is driving carelessly, it is often a matter of milliseconds that decide whether there is a collision or not. However, vehicle connectivity can greatly reduce the number of resulting accidents by promptly providing information that is outside the driver’s and the vehicle’s field of vision. Together with Nokia and Deutsche Telekom, Bosch is developing local cloud solutions for the automotive industry and working on the complete integration of vehicles via the cellular network all the way through to the Bosch IoT Cloud. The companies are employing Mobile Edge Computing (MEC), a cellular network technology that uses a local cloud to aggregate and process latency-critical information and distribute it to drivers. Unlike most clouds, this local cloud is situated directly at a mobile base station near the roadside and not on the internet.


Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH said: “Local clouds are ideally suited to fast vehicle-to-vehicle communication for hazard warnings and for cooperative and coordinated driving maneuvers,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, the responsible board of management member at Robert Bosch GmbH, emphatically. “We at Nokia believe that connected cars and autonomous driving will be a key part of a connected society. We are excited to work with Bosch and Deutsche Telekom to make this a reality using Mobile Edge Computing technology and thereby improving road safety.” adds Adolfo Masini, Head of IoT Connectivity, Nokia.


By 2020, the companies want to jointly drive forward the expansion of cellular technology and corresponding connected driving functions as part of the introduction of the 5G network, with the particular aim of enabling higher levels of automated driving. To this end, vehicles must be capable of communicating both with each other and via a server – in either a central or a local cloud, depending on requirements. The development partnership between Bosch, Nokia, and Deutsche Telekom involved a project team implementing driver assistance functions such as the intersection assistant and the electronic brake light and using them to validate communication via a local cloud in the Bosch proving ground in Boxberg as against a central cloud. For the intersection assistant to work, vehicles must regularly send their location and movement data to the server. This data is compared with that of nearby vehicles in light of the rules governing right of way. If there is danger of an accident occurring, a warning message is displayed in the vehicle that does not have the right of way. Outside of cities in particular, where vehicles travel at higher speeds, there is a definite speed advantage if data takes the short route via the local cloud. Compared to solutions that exchange information via a central cloud, local cloud approaches are at least three times faster, and they have much lower variances in the case of vehicle-to-vehicle latencies under 20 milliseconds. In some situations, this can make the difference as to whether the information reaches the car on time and the driver or the safety function can react quickly enough.

Water injection

Did you know that even advanced gasoline engines waste roughly a fifth of their fuel? Especially at high engine speeds, some of the gasoline is used for cooling instead of for propulsion. With its new water injection, Bosch shows that it does not have to be that way. Particularly when accelerating quickly or driving on the freeway, the injection of additional water makes it possible to reduce fuel consumption by up to 13 percent. “With our water injection, we show that the combustion engine still has some tricks up its sleeve,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Bosch Mobility Solutions business sector and member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. The fuel economy offered by this Bosch technology comes especially to the fore in three- and four-cylinder downsized engines: in other words, in precisely the kind of engines to be found under the hood of any average midsize car.


Extra boost for the turbocharged engine

But it is not only in the area of fuel economy that the Bosch innovation comes into play. It can make cars more powerful as well. “Water injection can deliver an extra kick in any turbocharged engine,” says Stefan Seiberth, president of the Gasoline Systems division at Bosch. Earlier ignition angles mean that the engine is operated even more efficiently. On this basis, engineers can coax additional power out of the engine, even in powerful sports cars.

The basis of this innovative engine technology is a simple fact: an engine must not be allowed to overheat. To stop this happening, additional fuel is injected into nearly every gasoline engine on today’s roads. This fuel evaporates, cooling parts of the engine block. With water injection, Bosch engineers have exploited this physical principle. Before the fuel ignites, a fine mist of water is injected into the intake duct. Water’s high heat of vaporization means that it provides effective cooling.


This is also the reason only a small additional volume of water is needed: for every one hundred kilometres driven, only a few hundred millilitres are necessary. As a result, the compact water tank that supplies the injection system with distilled water only has to be refilled every few thousand kilometres at the most. And if the tank should run empty, there is nothing to worry about: the engine will still run smoothly – albeit without the higher torque and lower consumption provided by water injection.

Additional questions and answers

Is this technology already in production?

The BMW M4 GTS is the first production vehicle to feature an innovative and ground-breaking water injection system. In the vehicle’s turbocharged six-cylinder engine, it offers improved performance and consumption even at full load. Bosch supplies water injection parts for the BMW M4 GTS.

How high is fuel consumption in the driving cycle?

In the future consumption test (WLTC), water injection makes it possible to save up to 4 percent fuel. In real driving conditions, even more is possible: here, fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 13 percent when accelerating quickly or driving on the freeway.

Doesn’t water injection cause the engine to rust?

No. No water is left in the combustion chamber. The water evaporates before combustion happens in the engine. All the water is expelled into the environ-ment, together with the exhaust.

How is water refilled?

Water injection only requires a small amount of water to be kept on board. On average, it only has to be refilled every 3,000 kilometers. The separate water tank has to be filled with distilled water.

Can the water in the tank freeze?

When the engine is stopped, the water flows back into its tank, where it may freeze. Following engine restart, the water thaws again.

Is there such a thing as direct water injection?

Bosch uses a port injection system, since it has clear technical advantages and costs less. This makes water injection suitable for large-scale production, as well as for many vehicle segments.
Links: Bosch water injection: Online special with videos and animated films:

(Source: Bosch Media)

Navigation supporting the new NDS data standard

Bosch guides you through 3D landscapes with Navigation 3.0

  • 3D m ap engine displays 3D elements on additional display layer
  • High-quality display with 3D objects also available offline
  • Level of display detail adaptable to system computing power and memory

Future visualization of dynamic information, like danger spots and fuel prices

Bosch is making the map display on built-in navigation systems even more engaging and relevant. Buildings extend skyward, enabling you to get your bearings more easily, and visible changes in terrain height combined with integrated satellite imagery produce an almost photorealistic look. This is made possible by Bosch’s advanced navigation software, which takes data compliant with the new Navigation Data Standard (NDS) and processes it in a 3D rendering module to turn it into a visually stunning map. In contrast to comparable solutions, it is possible to use the Bosch approach on navigation systems that are not permanently online. If an internet connection is available, though, the system can enhance the map display with dynamic data. In the future, this will allow, for instance, integration of the latest weather information or fuel prices at gas stations along the route.


Powerful 3D map engine supports continuous zoom

The key component in Bosch’s new navigation software is a 3D map engine based on OpenSceneGraph. It superimposes three-dimensional elements like buildings using an additional display layer and can also make them transparent, keeping the route visible to the driver when it goes behind structures. The driver can smoothly zoom the visible map area, from the highest level of detail to the world view. Using topographical information contained in the NDS data, the software displays differences in terrain height. It will even be possible to artificially bend up the map in the direction of the horizon, thus maximizing the amount of screen area used to display the route. The new software furthermore supports the 3D artMap function, which rounds the edges of buildings and uses appropriate colouring to give the structures a watercolour look.

For interacting with the system, the driver can choose between voice input, multi-touch, and handwriting recognition. And thanks to the 3D map engine, it is also possible to show different areas of the map on different screens at the same time, such as the displays in the centre console and instrument cluster. The level of display detail can be adapted to the infotainment system’s computing power and memory. The navigation software can thus be configured to suit carmakers’ particular requirements. Updates are easy to install via USB media or a connected smartphone.

Dynamic data from the connected horizon – more than just traffic info


Today, traffic congestion can already be portrayed on the map in near real time. But if the infotainment system has internet access, it will be possible in the future to integrate even more information in the map display. The Bosch connected horizon, for example, gives real-time access to data on road conditions stored in the cloud. The 3D map engine is able to visualize this data, so that areas of the map appear in a different colour if there is particularly heavy rain or a risk of black ice. By simply tracing a circle on the screen with your finger, you can then tell the system to calculate an alternative route going through the point you just defined. Regional temperatures and the expected path of severe storms can also be displayed – an essential function in regions of the US severely affected by tornados. Furthermore, in electric vehicles, the system uses a coloured, transparent overlay to indicate the current range on the map for the amount of remaining battery charge.

The Navigation Data Standard has been jointly developed by carmakers, automotive suppliers, and map providers. The standardized format enables map data to be exchanged easily between them. Standardization reduces the number of different variants and simplifies map updating.

Further details are available at

(Source: Bosch Media)

Real-driving emissions (RDE)

Brussels, 19 January 2016 – Following the debate on real-driving emissions (RDE) during the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg yesterday, the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) reiterates that it fully agrees with the need for emissions to more closely reflect real-world conditions.
“We urgently need to have a new test method to bridge the gap between the current laboratory testing of pollutant emissions, as defined by law, and the very different conditions experienced on the road,” said Erik Jonnaert, ACEA Secretary General. Alongside other stakeholders, ACEA has therefore been contributing constructively to the efforts of the European Commission and member states to develop a robust RDE test.

During the October meeting of the Commission’s regulatory committee (TCMV) a tough compromise was agreed on RDE with testing standards that will be extremely difficult for automobile manufacturers to reach in a short space of time, and highly challenging targets in a second step. The TCMV also agreed that the RDE conformity factor should be reviewed in the future.

“Despite the challenges in the latest proposals, the industry urgently needs clarity now so manufacturers can plan the development and design of vehicles in line with the new RDE requirements. Any delay to this legislation would leave little time to make the necessary changes and ultimately would just push back the benefits for the environment,” stated Jonnaert. “Our industry needs the RDE test to restore the confidence of consumers and legislators in the environmental performance of new vehicles.”

(Source: ACEA. )

Tyre/Tire pressures and mpg

In an SAE discussion group I recently came across a discussion about tyre pressures and fuel economy. Here is a reply to the question: “Has anyone done a comprehensive study on how exactly tyre pressure effects gas mileage?” A colleague in the forum replied as follows:

“Yes, I have.

for the past thirty years I have kept tire pressure set at 42 psi in my cars. There has been no significant change in the tire ‘footprint’, no effect on real world anti-lock braking, and an appreciable increase of 4-5 mpg, and increased tire life.

Back in the ’70’s, I taught an advanced diagnosis R/D course at a NJ college. Students were ready to graduate at the end of the course semester. The training facility had an in ground chassis dynamometer. Students were divided in small groups of three and were instructed to do anything they wanted to reduce road horsepower, ie.increase mpg, required to keep the vehicle rolling at a constant speed/load.

Students reduced vehicle weight, (by removing components such as seat, weighing them, then subtracting the weight via the dyno control panel), changed aerodynamics by figuring wind drag based upon frontal area and known factors, engine modification to include such things as five angle valve refacing, camshaft profile changes, etc., elimination of catalytic converters, and tire pressure. Proper research procedures were followed to ensure as accurate as possible results. Having taught this course several times with different students, vehicles, etc., there was only one vehicle change that effectively changed fuel economy, tire pressure.

Students increased tire pressure from the then specified 28-32 psi specification, a little at a time until a measureable change was found. Research was done regarding the development of the radial tire. Use of the radial tire in performance racing applications. Also research on the bias ply/radial tire, today known as emergency vehicle tires.

Vehicle mpg increased, (road hp required decreased), as the tire pressure was increased up to approximately 45 psi. Beyond that, there was no appreciable mpg increase.

Tire manufacturers informed the students that the sidewalls of a radial, being flexible, straighten out with increased tire pressure, leaving the ‘footprint’, unaffected. Also, that radial tires were originally produced and operated at 60 psi, (back in the early years, ’50’s). This was how students decided to experiment with tire pressure.

So, as a result, the tires of my cars are inflated to 42 psi and my truck tires to 55 psi. I have enjoyed the maximum mpg and tire life. Claims of poor tire life from factory tires have been negated.

[…] Hope you found this helpful. Just don’t plagiarize. Thanks” (Source: Fred Allen, retired automotive professor, 43 years , Rockport ME, USA)

What do you think about this? Fred’s experience is clear but are there any potential problems with increasing tyre pressures in this way? All sensible comments welcome!