The German company’s traffic jam assistant system – which will hit the market before most car makers launch their own autonomous systems – will accelerate, brake and steer vehicles autonomously up to 48km/h (30mph) in its first-generation form.
Bosch says continued improvement of the technology over the coming years to make it work at faster speeds and in more complex driving situations will eventually lead to the availability of fully autonomous vehicles.
Already a leading supplier of a number of vehicle technology systems including anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction control and electronic stability control (ESC), Bosch will offer all of the sensors and components required in developing autonomous driving technologies to its vehicle manufacturer customers. Unique Bosch components include a long-range radar that can detect objects 250 metres away, and a stereo video camera that detects objects in 3D.
For now, Bosch’s technology works only in heavy traffic situations where the vehicle is simply required to follow the car ahead.
Bosch chassis systems control division president Gerhard Steiger said two major challenges remained for developing fully autonomous vehicles.
“First, inner-city driving, since automated vehicle functions have to deal with dense traffic involving a large number of road users traveling in every direction; and second, developing a concept to ensure that the system’s functions operate reliably in all types of driving situation.”
Mercedes-Benz is set to become the first manufacturer to make autonomous driving technology available in a production car, with the all-new 2013 S-Class capable of accelerating, braking and keeping its position in a lane at speeds up to 200km/h.