— Fully-automated, driverless driving in the city requires the highest level of functional safety
— Bosch and Daimler possess know-how from the individual component and the entire vehicle to the operator model
— In 2019 a major city in the Silicon Valley will become the first pilot-testing city for Bosch and Daimler
— US technology company Nvidia supplies the platform for AI algorithms from Bosch and Daimler
Bosch and Daimler are speeding up the development of fully-automated and driverless driving (SAE Level 4/5) in the city and are decisively setting the course.
The partners have chosen California as the pilot location for the first test fleet. In the second half of 2019, Bosch and Daimler will offer customers a shuttle service with automated vehicles on selected routes in a Californian metropolis. Daimler Mobility Services is envisaged as the operator of this test fleet and the app-based mobility service. The pilot project will demonstrate how mobility services such as car sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi) and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can be intelligently connected to shape the future of mobility. In addition, the partners have decided on the US technology company Nvidia as the supplier of the artificial intelligence platform as part of their control unit network.
For the joint development of a driving system for fully-automated and driverless vehicles, Bosch and Daimler rely on their automotive expertise accumulated over many decades to bring mature and safe innovations to market. Both companies are guided by a shared philosophy: “The decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system,” says Dr Michael Hafner, Head of Automated Driving at Daimler AG. “Safety has the highest priority, and is the constant theme of all aspects and development stages on our way to the start of series production. If in doubt, thoroughness comes before speed.”
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“Developing automated driving to a level ready for series production is like a decathlon”, according to Dr Stephan Hönle, Senior Vice President Business Unit Automated Driving at Robert Bosch GmbH. “It’s not enough to be good in one or two areas. Like us, you have to master all disciplines. Only then will we succeed in bringing automated driving to the roads and the city safely.”
Evaluation of sensor data within milliseconds
A decisive factor for fully-automated and driverless driving in an urban environment is the reliable recognition of the vehicle’s surroundings with the aid of various sensors. Analysing and interpreting the variety of incoming data and translating them into driving commands within a very short time requires enormous computing power – the fully-automated, driverless vehicle will be a mobile super-computer. At the same time, fully-automated, driverless driving in the city requires a versatile, redundant systems architecture and the highest level of functional safety. To achieve this level of safety, the necessary computing operations are performed in parallel in different circuits. This means that the system has instant recourse to these parallel computing results when necessary.
For their driving system, Bosch and Daimler thus rely on a control unit network made up of several individual control units. The US technology company Nvidia supplies the platform required for this, which can run the Artificial Intelligence (AI) algorithms generated by Bosch and Daimler for the vehicle’s movement. The network of control units collates the data from all sensors with radar, video, lidar and ultrasound technology (sensor data fusion), evaluates them within milliseconds and plans the movements of the vehicle. All in all, the control unit network has a computing capacity of hundreds of trillion operations per second. That’s as much as several S Class vehicles together could reach just a few years ago.
Metropolis in California will be a pilot city for automated test fleet
The control unit network will also be used in the fleet vehicles which Daimler and Bosch will put on the roads of California in the second half of 2019. Not only that: Both partners will offer customers an automated shuttle service on select routes in a city located in the San Francisco Bay in Silicon Valley. The test operation will provide information about how fully-automated and driverless vehicles can be integrated into a multi-modal transport network. Many cities face numerous challenges that are increasingly burdening the existing transport system. The test is to show how this new technology might be a solution to these challenges.
Driverless driving makes urban mobility more attractive
With their development cooperation on fully-automated and driverless driving in urban environments which began in April 2017, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future. The technology will, among other things, boost the attraction of car sharing. In addition, it will allow people to make the best possible use of their time in the vehicle, and open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s licence, for example.
The vehicle comes to the driver, not the driver to the vehicle. Within a defined city area, users can conveniently order a car-sharing car or a vehicle that drives by without a driver. The project especially combines the overall vehicle and mobility expertise of one of the world’s leading premium manufacturer with the systems and hardware expertise of one of the world’s largest suppliers. The ensuing synergies’ purpose is to introduce the new technology early and fully validated.
Bosch and Daimler employees share the same office space
Bosch and Daimler employees work together in teams in two regions: In the greater Stuttgart area in Germany and around Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley to the south of San Francisco in the USA. Employees from both companies share the same office space. This ensures rapid communication across working disciplines and short decision-making paths. At the same time they have access to the entire know-how of the colleagues in the mother companies. The partners are equally financing the development work.
The personnel in this cooperation are jointly developing the concepts and algorithms for the fully-automated, driverless drive system. Daimler’s task is to bring the drive system into the car. To this end, the company is providing the necessary development vehicles, test facilities and later the vehicles for the test fleet. Bosch is responsible for the components (sensors, actuators and control units) specified during the development work. For test purposes the partners use their laboratories and test rigs, plus their respective test sites in Immendingen and Boxberg. Furthermore, since 2014 Mercedes-Benz has approval to test automated vehicles in the Sunnyvale/California region. The company also has comparable approval for the Sindelfingen/Böblingen region since 2016. Bosch was the world’s first automotive supplier to test automated driving on public roads in Germany and in the US in early 2013.
Daimler at a glance
Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services divisions, the Group is one of the leading global suppliers of premium cars and is the world’s largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles. Daimler Financial Services offers financing, leasing, fleet management, insurance, investments and credit cards as well as innovative mobility services. The company founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history by inventing the automobile in 1886. As a pioneer of automotive engineering, Daimler sees shaping the future of mobility in a safe and sustainable way as both motivation and obligation.The company’s focus therefore remains on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and superior vehicles that both captivate and inspire. Daimler continues to invest systematically in the development of efficient powertrains – from high-tech combustion engines and hybrid vehicles to all-electric powertrains with battery or fuel cell – with the goal of making locally emission-free driving possible in the long term.
The company’s efforts are also focused on the intelligent connectivity of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts. This is just one example of how Daimler willingly accepts the challenge of meeting its responsibility towards society and the environment. Daimler sells its vehicles and services in nearly every country of the world and has production facilities in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. In addition to Mercedes-Benz, the world’s most valuable premium automotive brand (source: Interbrand study “The Anatomy of Growth”, 5.10.2016), as well as Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach and Mercedes me, the brands smart, EQ, Freightliner, Western Star, BharatBenz, FUSO, Setra and Thomas Built Buses and the Daimler Financial Services brands: Mercedes-Benz Bank, Mercedes-Benz Financial Services, Daimler Truck Financial, moovel, car2go and mytaxi. The company is listed on the Frankfurt and Stuttgart stock exchanges (ticker symbol DAI). In 2017, the Group had a workforce of more than 289,300 and sold around 3.3 million vehicles. The application of IFRS 15 and IFRS 9 in the 2017 financial year would have produced corporate sales of 164.2 bill. € and a corporate EBIT of 14.3 bill. €. Before the change to IFRS 15 and 9, corporate sales for the 2017 financial year as reported were 164.3 bill. € with a corporate EBIT for the 2017 financial year of 14.7 bill. €.