Bosch unclutters vehicle cockpit

How digital displays and voice-controlled assistants are revolutionizing driving

  • Rediscovering the driving experience with HMI.
  • Smart command center: the driver controls car functions using voice commands and a touchscreen with haptic feedback.
  • Artificial intelligence in the cockpit: HMI thinks ahead and prioritizes information in real time.
  • A central cockpit computer controls the complete HMI.

For years, touchscreens, handwriting recognition, and gesture control have been gradually replacing conventional mechanical buttons and switches in the car – to the detriment of road safety. After all, controlling the navigation system, the on-board computer menu, or the radio is a distraction. At CES 2018, in Las Vegas, Bosch is showcasing smart cockpit technology that lets drivers concentrate on driving. Eyes can be kept where they should be: on the road. “We are uncluttering the cockpit. The more complex the technology in modern vehicles, the simpler and more intuitive control systems need to be,” says Dr. Steffen Berns, the president of Bosch Car Multimedia. Artificial intelligence helps transform the human-machine interface (HMI) into a command center that thinks ahead. “Initial functionalities with artificial intelligence feed valuable information into the HMI about the driver, the vehicle, and the surroundings. That enables proactive adjustment of displays and controls to any given driving situation,” Berns says. Bosch also draws on this information for the development of automated driving. Here too, HMI is the core element that allows optimal interplay between people and vehicles.

„We are uncluttering the cockpit. The more complex the technology in modern vehicles, the simpler and more intuitive control systems need to be.“
Dr. Steffen Berns, the president of Bosch Car Multimedia

Artificial intelligence helps transform the human-machine interface (HMI) into a command center that thinks ahead. “Initial functionalities with artificial intelligence feed valuable information into the HMI about the driver, the vehicle, and the surroundings. That enables proactive adjustment of displays and controls to any given driving situation,” Berns says. Bosch also draws on this information for the development of automated driving. Here too, HMI is the core element that allows optimal interplay between people and vehicles.

Operating HMI, without getting distracted

According to Allianz Center for Technology, 63 percent of drivers in Germany operate their navigation systems while driving, 61 percent switch through radio stations, and 43 percent browse through complicated menus on their on-board computers. Distractions like these are among the most frequent causes of accidents. “Our job is to make HMI a reliable companion in every situation,” Berns says. At the heart of the HMI is a voice-controlled assistant that responds to natural speech and can even understand dialects. Thanks to natural language understanding (NLU), drivers can talk to the assistant Casey as they would with a passenger. Another virtue of Casey is her ability to think ahead. Drawing on artificial intelligence, she can learn to predict likely destinations depending on the time of the day; or if she is asked to switch on the radio, she knows the driver’s preferences, such as listening to the news in the mornings and music in the evenings.

Digital displays make driving safer

We perceive 90 percent of our sensory input through our eyesight. That means that, as drivers, we have to have important information directly in our field of vision at the right time. Digital displays are taking over the cockpit. Today, this means more than simply keeping an eye on speed, rpm, and driving range. Smart algorithms capable of learning filter and prioritize content. If the roads are slippery, drivers immediately get a warning signal directly in their field of vision, while less important information, such as the current radio station, is switched to another display. That helps keep the driver concentrated on the road. When it comes to operating infotainment, air conditioning, and radio, touchscreens and central controllers have a decisive drawback: the driver has to look to enter commands accurately. At a speed of 50 kph, the car will travel 30 meters while the driver’s eyes are taken off the road for two seconds; at 120 kph on the freeway, the distance increases to more than 60 meters – driving blind. “Car displays with haptic feedback are going to catch on. They allow easier operation of all manner of functionalities – for example radio and phone functions – faster, simpler, and, most importantly, safer,” Berns says. The keys displayed on the touchscreen feel just like real buttons. The haptic display thus conveys the feeling that the user is adjusting the volume using a real slide control. As a result, drivers can keep their eyes on the road for longer.

A central cockpit computer controls the HMI

Displays, infotainment, voice control: one consequence of the advanced cockpit technology is the increased demands on processing power, wiring, and the architecture of on-board networks. In current production vehicles, 5, 10, or as many as 15 electronic control units run displays and electronic devices. More processing power is needed to show coordinated information on all displays. In the future, Bosch will run the entire HMI through a cockpit computer and will integrate more functionalities in a single central processor. That will enable the convergence and synchronization of the infotainment system, the instrument cluster, and other displays so that any given information can be orchestrated, managed, and displayed anywhere in the vehicle at any given time. “It gives car drivers and passengers virtually unlimited possibilities for adjusting the air conditioning, controlling the navigation system, or changing radio stations, from anywhere in the vehicle,” Berns says. In addition, reducing the number of control units also frees up valuable installation space, lowers vehicle weight, and shortens the time needed for the development of new vehicles. And, in the future, over-the-air updates will ensure that the cockpit computer and hence the entire HMI is kept up to date with the same simple process used for smartphones.

Source: Bosch Media

OBD provision and data access

The IAAF and FIGIEFA have welcomed news that crucial provisions on the OBD connector and access to RMI [repair and maintenance information] have been included in the proposed EU legislation on Vehicle Type-Approval regulation.

The EU Council’s main preparatory body, COREPER, recognised the need for the aftermarket to maintain access to diagnostic and RMI-related data. It also clarified that access will be granted while the vehicle is in motion.

The new legislation intends to clarify that RMI and spare parts identification information shall also be provided in a machine readable and electronically processable structure. RMI information has often been made available to independent repairers in an unusable format.

FIGIEFA’s aim is that access to in-vehicle data remains possible, with the issue to be swiftly addressed in 2018 by the EU Council.

Hartmut Röhl, FIGIEFA president said: “The new vehicle type-approval and its RMI legislation, once approved, will represent a step forward and will have a positive impact for the entire automotive aftermarket and mobility services industries.

“However, the EU Commission must now find a solution on how to address the telematics access to the ‘connected car’, and we call upon it to start working in 2018 on the interoperable, standardised, secure and open-access platform.”

Full story: AfterMarketOnline

Car data and who has access?

There is much discussion around at the moment about access to car data and talk of the DLC being removed.

There are genuine arguments on all sides of course but the danger of unauthorised access is very real – particularly as we automate the driving further.

Here is some useful information from http://cardatafacts.eu/vehicle-data-available-service-providers/ which is part of www.acea.be

Interested service providers will be able to access the vehicle data they need through a secure remote server, on the basis of a contract with the vehicle manufacturer.

In addition, independently-managed neutral servers can be set up to make vehicle data readily available to interested third parties without the need to sign a contract with the manufacturer of a car, van, truck or bus. These servers are totally ‘neutral’, meaning that they are neither operated nor financed by the manufacturers but by an independent party. Of course, these neutral server operators are required to implement state of the art security and data protection measures.

Various companies have already shown an interest in setting up such independently-managed servers. IBM, for example, recently launched a service to make vehicle data accessible through their cloud platform to parties that want to develop new and innovative services.

The neutral server will also facilitate data access, in particular for small and medium-sized companies, by offering multi-brand data access on one server, rather than obliging them to use multiple servers of individual manufacturers.

Moreover, the neutral server ensures customer choice. With a neutral server, vehicle users are free to obtain services from the vehicle manufacturer, his network of authorised repairers or any other service provider of their choice.

Service providers can have fair and reasonable access to the data they need to offer their services to vehicle users. That includes independent repair shops, fleet operators, insurance companies, etc. Any information that is available to the vehicle manufacturer’s network of authorised repairers will be made available on the same conditions to independent third parties that offer competing services: the same type, amount and quality of data, at the same time, at the same price.

This concept for the transfer of vehicle-generated data ensures access in a fully transparent and anonymised manner. That is, the neutral server enables service providers (as well as the exact services they offer) to remain unknown to the vehicle manufacturer. Thus, it contributes to innovation and allows fair and open competition.

PTC Heater

BorgWarner has announced that it will supply its high-voltage positive temperature coefficient (PTC) cabin heating technology for an unspecified new EV model from a global automaker.

BorgWarner’s technology is designed to provide rapid cabin heating while making the most efficient possible use of energy in order to conserve battery power.

Unlike legacy vehicles, EVs don’t generate a significant source of waste heat that can be used to heat the cabin. BorgWarner’s high-voltage cabin heater relies on ceramic PTC components to warm the air stream coming from the blower. It self-regulates to ensure that high-power heating is available in cold temperatures, when it is needed most. As temperatures rise and heating demand decreases, the energy level is automatically reduced.

The heater offers up to 7 kW of power, provides dual-zone functionality for increased efficiency, and boasts nearly silent operation.

Source: BorgWarner

48V Hybrid Battery

Press release from Bosch:

Bosch’s new 48-volt battery for hybrids is in demand by automakers across the globe. Similar to the Bosch e-axle, this innovative 48-volt battery is standardized for easy integration into new vehicle models. Established manufacturers and start-ups alike can thus eliminate long and expensive development processes. “Bosch is an incubator of electromobility. We help manufacturers reduce their development times and launch their products faster,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Bosch Mobility Solutions business sector and member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. This means that installation of the lithium-ion battery will benefit not only compact cars, but mini- and microcars as well. Production of the battery is scheduled to start in late 2018. Anticipating a large market for entry-level hybrids, Bosch offers other powertrain components for these models in addition to the 48-volt battery. The company estimates that some 15 million 48-volt hybrid vehicles will be on the road by 2025.


 

Automakers everywhere – whether in China, Europe, or North America – are all striving to cut CO2 emissions, which in practice means reducing cars’ fuel consumption. Bosch has systematically designed its new 48-volt battery to do precisely that. For instance, the lithium-ion cells Bosch uses are as compact as possible while still achieving a reduction in CO2. The 48-volt battery is in high demand, particularly among Chinese manufacturers, and the lithium-ion unit is poised to become a global success. Bosch is already in talks with over a dozen customers and has secured a considerable number of production projects.

The secret of the battery’s success is its sophisticated concept, which offers a comparatively inexpensive way to help reduce vehicle CO2 emissions. This is also due to the product design, as the battery requires no active cooling and its housing is made of plastic, not metal. Both these factors bring costs down still further. The plastic housing presents a real challenge, as lithium-ion cells expand when the battery is charging and over the course of the unit’s service life. As a result, the housing must withstand a certain amount of stress. Bosch engineers rearranged the cells in the 48-volt battery so that even plastic housing can bear the pressure.

With its new battery, Bosch is playing a key role in making the 48-volt hybrid affordable for the mass market.

Wireless electric car charging testing using a Renault Kangoo Z.E.

It’s long been an inspiring futuristic concept: electric cars that can recharge continuously at speed, driving along roadways with built-in inductive charging.

Think a modern-day version of slot cars, but at 1:1 scale.

Now French automaker Renault has demonstrated a prototype of just such a system, briefly recharging one of its electric cars at 60 miles per hour.

The French automaker that builds more electric cars than any other European maker partnered with electronics company Qualcomm to develop what it calls a “dynamic wireless electric-vehicle charging” system.

The prototype demonstrated last week allowed charging at up to 20 kilowatts at speeds up to 100 km/h (62 mph) and higher.

The demonstration cars were a pair of Renault Kangoo ZE electric small delivery vans, shown on a test track in Versailles, near Paris.

Qualcomm and a French firm, Vedecom, installed the charging equipment in the test track.

Renault, meanwhile, modified its electric vans with the system that permitted wireless charging.

The goal of the tests, the companies said, is to assess the “operation and efficiency of energy transfer to the vehicles for a wide range of practical scenarios.”

Among the communications between vehicle and track are those that identify the vehicle and authorize it to begin charging, negotiate over the level of power to be provided, and keep the vehicle aligned on the charging strip at an appropriate speed.

The test is part of a 9-million-euro project known as Fabric, partly funded by the European Union, to evaluate the technology feasibility, business models, and sustainability of wireless on-road charging.

Fabric began in January 2014, and will continue through the end of this year; it’s made up of 25 partners from nine European countries.

Securely updating cars over the air

A new standard – simple and secure

More electronics, more functions, more software: the car is turning into a smartphone on wheels. Keeping vehicle software up to date is thus becoming increasingly important. New functions can provide extra convenience, even after the vehicle has been bought. Over-the-air software updates will therefore soon be a standard feature. Today’s vehicles feature as many as 100 control units.

Even compact cars have between 30 and 50. Their software governs nearly every function in the vehicle. In addition, more and more vehicles are now connected – with the internet, other cars, and the infrastructure. This means a greater risk of weak links in vehicle software, as well as of manipulation. In this context, software updates over the cloud offer a solution that keeps cars constantly up to date, and thus also secure. “Cars are driven for 15 years or more. Over-the-air software updates are Bosch’s contribution to keeping vehicle software constantly up to date, without having to visit the repair shop,” Heyn says. In addition, the cloud updates mean that ever more functions can be added, with ever greater scope. If the necessary hardware is already installed, a new software function can be tried out and subsequently downloaded. In this way, lane-keeping or park-assist functions can be added, for example. And it is not just drivers that benefit from over-the-air software updates: in 2015, 15 percent of recalls in the automotive industry in the U.S. had to do with software errors. Four years previously, this figure was only 5 percent, according to a U.S. study based on data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA). “For automakers and their customers alike, such repair-shop visits are a huge waste of time and money, and online updates can significantly reduce this,” Heyn says.

Updates directly from the cloud

Secure, fast, and simple – that’s how over-the-air software updates work. On the driver’s smartphone or the car’s infotainment system, the online security updates are started and any new functions that need to be downloaded are selected. This information is sent to the cloud, which acts like a kind of app store, holding the updates in readiness and starting the process of downloading software to the vehicle. The data can either be downloaded in the background while the car is moving, or overnight when it is parked in its garage. As soon as the vehicle is in  secure condition (once it has parked, for example), the software updates are installed on the appropriate control units, where they are immediately activated.

Security on all levels

Security and the smooth interaction of automotive electronics, cloud, and software are decisive for over-the-air updates. Data security is ensured by the latest encryption technologies developed at the Bosch subsidiary Escrypt. A complex security architecture with end-to-end encryption protects the data transmission against unauthorized access. At the car-cloud interfaces, secure protocols and filters act like a firewall to ward off any hacking attempts. To ensure that over-the air software updates are not just secure, but also fast and reliable, Bosch uses fast update technologies such as delta and compression mechanisms. These accelerate the update process and reduce cost, since the data volume for the transmission remains low. One further security measure is to transmit the updates in sequences. If problems occur, the update process can be stopped and adjusted. The technology at the heart of these over-the air updates is the Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite. Its software elements enable all functions needed for over-the-air updates – by drivers, automakers, and even by vehicles themselves.

(Source: Bosch Media)

 

Cycle recognition and emergency braking

Introduction

 

Another narrow escape: a cyclist appears as if out of nowhere and suddenly crosses the road. Distracted by the search for somewhere to park, the driver is powerless to avert what appears to be an inevitable disaster. Yet Bosch’s new emergency braking system with cyclist detection prevents any serious consequences, automatically bringing the car to a full stop from 40 kph. Everyone makes it through the incident, shaken but unharmed. As soon as the emergency braking system’s radar or video sensor detects an imminent collision, the Bosch iBooster initiates full braking in just 190 milliseconds – less time than it takes to blink twice. “Driver assistance systems are the next step along the path toward accident-free driving,” says Bosch board of management member Dr. Dirk Hoheisel. “These electronic assistants are always vigilant and, in emergencies, they respond more quickly than people can. They provide support just where drivers need it – in busy city traffic.” Emergency braking systems are one of the most useful assistance systems, particularly when it comes to responding to cyclists and pedestrians, the most vulnerable of road users.

 

More protection where most needed

In Germany, bicycles are involved in one-fourth of all accidents resulting in personal injury. According to the German Federal Statistics Office, 393 people were killed in such accidents in 2016 alone – roughly 12 percent of the country’s total road fatalities. Some two-thirds of these accidents involve a car. Equipping every car in Germany with an emergency braking system that can detect cyclists would prevent almost half (43 percent) the bicycle/motor vehicle accidents that result in personal injury, or at least mitigate their severity. “An emergency braking assistant may reduce braking distance by the few crucial centimeters that can mean the difference between life and death,” says Gerhard Steiger, president of Bosch’s Chassis Systems Control division. The European New Car Assessment Program, or Euro NCAP, has also recognized the importance of emergency braking systems for road safety. Starting in 2018, the consumer protection association’s star rating system will include emergency braking with cyclist detection. Emergency braking systems with pedestrian detection have been part of the rating system since 2016.

Electronic assistants growing in popularity

In light of rising volumes of road traffic, driver assistance systems offer the full package – and hold the key to increased road safety. They keep cars in their lanes, warn of obstacles in the blind spot when changing lanes, provide support for pulling into and out of parking spots, and help maintain following distance, to name just a few examples. Bosch is constantly honing the technology behind these driver assistance systems: sensors supply increasingly precise images of the car’s surroundings, and their interaction with actuators, such as braking and steering, is steadily becoming faster and more efficient. In this way, driver assistance systems are not only preparing the path toward automated driving, but are already delivering stress-free and relaxed driving. No wonder, then, that the spread of electronic assistants is picking up. A Bosch survey found that half of all new cars (52 percent) in Germany have at least one driver assistance system on board. The trend is toward consolidating multiple assistance functions on one sensor, as demonstrated by car exit warning, a new function developed by Bosch.

Radar offers a constant over-the-shoulder view

Bosch’s rear mid-range radar sensors, which monitor lane changes on the freeway, can also keep city drivers from making a dangerous mistake: after parallel parking at the curb, drivers often get out of their cars right away – without looking over their shoulder. This has led to countless cyclists getting painfully up close and personal with car doors as they are knocked unceremoniously to the pavement. But Bosch’s car exit warning can help. It is active for all car doors and warns the occupants – even several minutes after the ignition has been turned off – before they carelessly get out of the vehicle. Mounted to the left and right of the rear of the car, the Bosch sensors monitor traffic. Within a 20-meter radius, the sensors can detect other road users who are approaching from the rear, or who are already to the side or rear of the car, and promptly warn the driver before they open their door.

 

(Source: Bosch Media)