TÜV Süd has given permission to Bosch to test automated driving on German highways. Some 5000 employees will develop the necessary electronic components for pilotless driving on public roads.
THE STATED AIM IS TO USE EVERYDAY driving situations to put these self-steering and self-driving cars to the test and to improve them. In an independent report that praises the safety concept Bosch worked up for the test drives, the German certification organization TÜV Süd is certain that “nothing now stands in the way of testing these experimental vehicles on public roads.” Wolf-Henning Scheider, the member of the Bosch board of management responsible for this area, underlines the significance of this independent assessment: “We are absolutely committed to the principle of dual control.”
The first stage of development is concerned with automated driving on the Autobahn. With no crossing traffic, no oncoming traffic, and no pedestrians, freeways present the fewest challenges to automated systems. The test car’s maneuvers are dictated by a lane keeping assistant, an adaptive cruise control system, and a lane changing assistant, with the necessary information about the car’s surroundings being collected by Bosch radar and video sensors. Of course, many of these components and sub-systems use CAN connectivity.
Findings from these tests are paving the way for driving functions that are ever more automated – such as traffic jam pilot that automatically assumes control of the car at low speeds. On the way to achieving this goal, the tests are already providing valuable experience that is feeding in to improvements in emergency braking or evasion systems. “The results of these tests are helping to make driving even safer and more relaxed,” Scheider says.
Even though the technology is already in a position to deal with almost any traffic situation that might conceivably be encountered on a freeway, the drivers at the wheel of these test vehicles are nonetheless specially trained. Only associates who have internalized the safety concept and completed a special driving course are allowed to perform the test drive. One thing they must be able to do is react quickly in potentially critical situations.
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