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“The Biggest benefit to road safety will come from removing human decision making,” Bosch Australia president Gavin Smith told world experts on road safety today.

On the same day that Tesla launched an advanced Autopilot upgrade for its Model S electric sedan in California, Smith told the Australasian Road Safety Conference on the Gold Coast that we need more autonomous technology, sooner.

“More than 90 per cent of all crashes are caused by human error,” he said.

“To mitigate these accidents, Bosch is developing a range of technologies that remove human decision making while driving.”

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Smith said that systems in development at Bosch right now have the potential to prevent up to 58 percent of vehicle collisions with pedestrians, based on data provided by the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) detailing the 150 pedestrian deaths in Australia last year.

He added that while technologies such as the Antilock Braking System (ABS) and Electronic Stability Control (ESC) have contributed significantly to improving road safety, newly developing technology like Active Pedestrian Protection and various grades of autonomous driving “will accelerate road safety to new levels”.

Pedestrian-aware collision avoidance and autonomous emergency braking technology has been on the market for sometime, with Subaru’s camera-based EyeSight system among the better known, but Bosch is working to improve the intelligence of such tech.

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“Bosch technology not only detects the current position of pedestrians and cyclists, but also predicts where they will be in a second’s time. This presents new opportunities for pedestrian protection,” Smith said.

Inside the car, Bosch is also developing increasingly smarter systems that detect a driver’s attention levels, making it possible to warn distracted motorists as surrounding traffic – and the driver’s lack of focus – presents a risky situation.

Bosch highlighted its growing focus on autonomous vehicle technology in 2013, and it will play a major role in the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative that will launch in Adelaide next month.

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That’s not enough, though, Smith believes, urging the Federal Government to turn its attention to the technologies that could dramatically improve road safety in the future.

“Autonomous driving trials are already set to take place in South Australia and while we commend their leadership, I believe autonomous driving should be considered a national priority,” Smith said.

“By eliminating driver error and enabling cars to communicate with other vehicles and infrastructure roads will be safer, less congested and less polluted.”

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