German auto parts supplier on road to self-driving cars – USA TODAY
FLAT ROCK, Mich. — If you think of the race to self-driving cars as a marathon, auto part suppliers like Bosch are tantamount to being the shoe companies.
The runners are the automakers and tech giants who get nearly all the attention. But they don’t always make the electronic and software magic themselves.
Frank Sgambati, director of marketing and product innovation for Bosch’s chassis systems controls, is aware of the wariness with which many consumers regard the idea of a fully autonomous vehicle. But Bosch introduced its first antilock braking system in the late 1970s and its first electronic stability control product in 1995 — and today those technologies are widely accepted.
Bosch, a big German supplier to the automotive industry, showed off some of the new technologies that it will be pitching to automakers at a test track here.
•Home Zone Park Assist. A driver uses a smartphone app to program a vehicle’s route into and out of a garage or driveway. The driver must be in the car the first time, but the vehicle remembers the route. The next time, the driver can control it by pressing a button on the phone from as much as 328 feet away if there is an adequate Wi-Fi or Bluetooth signal. Bosch officials said this should be introduced on an unspecified vehicle by 2019. This is a significant step on the route to complete, or Level 4, autonomy.
•Predictive Pedestrian Protection. This feature, which is already in use, deploys sensors and cameras to detect a pedestrian walking across the vehicle’s path, then actuators take control and brake the vehicle quickly enough to avoid a collision as long as its not exceeding about 18 miles per hour before detecting the walker. It can mitigate, but not avoid, a collision at speeds of up to 37 mph. This is a form of automatic emergency braking that 20 automakers agreed in March to make standard in all new vehicles for the 2022 model year.
•3D Surround View. This uses four cameras to provide a 360-degree three-dimensional set of views around a vehicle to ease parking in parking lots and garages.
•Low-speed Rear Automatic Emergency Braking. This system uses 12 sensors mounted in the front, rear and corners of a vehicle to detect small objects or children behind a vehicle and automatically stop well before any contact. It is still under development.
•Overhead Clearance Assist. This is less about automated driving than the convenience of drivers who frequently carry bicycles, luggage racks or even pieces of furniture on their roofs. The driver inputs the height of the cargo from the road. Before it’s too late, the car’s touch screen will alert the driver when approaching bridges, tunnels, fast-food drive-through lanes if there is insufficient clearance.