Accidents caused by wrong-way drivers are rare, but when they happen, they usually have serious consequences. However, the warning of the unpredictable danger over the traffic radio is usually too late, because every third wrong-way accident ends after only 500 metres – and in the worst case, fatally. In the current quarter, Skoda will integrate a solution developed by Bosch into the head units of some of its vehicle models, which warns drivers in the vicinity of the wrong-way driver – and the driver himself as well – without delay.
It works like this: Vehicles report their position with high precision to the Bosch Cloud via GPS. There, the current movement of the vehicle is compared with the permitted direction of travel. If the wrong turn is made onto a motorway or other multi-lane road, the driver himself is made aware of the error via a warning on his vehicle’s display – after just a few seconds. In most cases, this warning should already be given before the driver enters the motorway.
However, such a system only becomes really useful when all drivers in the vicinity are warned. And that is the plan, at least Bosch and Skoda want to spread this technology as widely as possible. “The more vehicles are networked with our wrong-way driver warning system, the tighter the safety net,” says Mathias Pillin, divisional CEO of Bosch’s new Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division. In addition to the start of series production of the system at Skoda, Bosch is in talks with other car manufacturers to equip more vehicles with the function.
Bosch’s cloud-based wrong-way driver warning was originally developed as a smartphone app in 2018. It is now being used by 25 app partners in Europe. A software module is integrated into the smartphone apps of radio stations, streaming, navigation and news providers. The anonymised GPS data is sent to the cloud via smartphone or (as in the case of Skoda) via a vehicle’s own communication system and analysed in the Bosch backend. The warning is issued via the smartphone display or the head unit display and an acoustic signal.
Around 2.5 million unique active users in Europe already actively use the Bosch wrong-way driver warning app every month. It is used in Spain, France, Sweden, Norway, Poland, Italy and Great Britain. In addition, the first countries outside Europe, the USA and Canada, are to be added this year. Currently, the Bosch cloud backend evaluates more than 4.5 million journeys per day for the risk of a wrong-way driver.