Bosch, Volkswagen join forces for automated driving

Bosch, Volkswagen join forces for automated driving

Business news |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

More safety and comfort for drivers, faster availability of automated driving functions for all vehicle classes: Together, Bosch and Volkswagen’s software company Cariad want to make partially and highly automated driving suitable for the masses and generally available. Development goals are level 2 “hands-free” systems, for city, country roads and motorways, as well as a system in which the vehicle takes over the complete driving task on the motorway (SAE level 3). The first functions are to be implemented in 2023.

Both companies are jointly developing a uniform software platform for partially and highly automated driving. In future, it is to be used in all privately used vehicle classes of the Volkswagen Group brands – and thus in one of the world’s largest vehicle fleets. But the cooperation is not exclusive to Cariad: Bosch was able to ensure that all components of the cooperation can also be integrated into vehicles and ecosystems of other automakers.

The two companies have been jointly developing the technology components for automated driving for some time. Now the aim is to accelerate the market introduction of such functions and vehicles for the mass market. “Together with Cariad, we are now accelerating the market launch of partially and highly automated driving functions in all vehicle classes, making them available to everyone. This will make road traffic safer and more comfortable,” says Bosch board of management member Dr Markus Heyn. “We can also offer the resulting solutions to our other customers and thus set new standards.” This availability on a broad front is not exhausted in the development of suitable sensors, computers and algorithms, but also extends to aspects such as series production, scalability and approval of vehicle systems, as well as know-how in software, data-driven development and artificial intelligence.

At various locations of both companies, in particular at the Bosch headquarters in Stuttgart and in Ingolstadt, home of Volkswagen subsidiary Audi, associates of the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division and of Cariad are to jointly develop partially and highly automated driving functions – globally networked and in mixed, agile teams. At peak times, well over 1,000 experts from both companies will be working on the necessary components – from the middleware to the individual applications. Both companies have already begun to recruit new talent on the market for their cooperation.

The focus is on data-driven software development based on information from a 360-degree environment survey. To this end, an innovative development environment is being created for the collection, analysis and processing of data, which uses methods of artificial intelligence, among others. To this end, the development partners are making a simple calculation: The more comprehensive the basis of information from real road traffic, the more robust and natural the partially and highly automated driving functions can be designed. This applies, for example, to additional layers for high-resolution maps for localisation and lateral and longitudinal guidance of vehicles, which are also being worked on in the cooperation. It also applies to everyday driving situations as well as special cases in road traffic, so-called corner cases, which rarely occur but are all the more tricky for a system to solve.

In their development work, the partners want to use extensive data from real road traffic. “With the help of one of the largest networked vehicle fleets in the world, we are gaining a huge database to take automated driving systems to a new level. All our customers will be able to benefit from this,” says Dr Mathias Pillin, chairman of the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division. “Together, we can test automated driving functions more broadly in vehicles and implement them more quickly.

This includes ensuring that the data obtained from real traffic flows continuously and in real time into further development. Last but not least, with every kilometre driven in real traffic and the data collected, evaluated and processed in the process, the necessary information base grows in order to realise higher levels of automated driving and to bring it safely and reliably onto the road. The partners have agreed to also examine possible joint development goals and timetables in the direction of fully automated driving (SAE Level 4).

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