Driving is about to change beyond all recognition. Starting in the next decade, Bosch will introduce a new system to the market that will enable cars to drive themselves on freeways or expressways. This will not only increase road safety, but more importantly, it will also open up new options for the driver, such as resting, relaxing, reading e-mails, or writing – without any risk to safety. So what is new?
The key differentiator is a modern human machine interface (HMI) that operates the vehicle. In the future, the HMI and the car’s web connectivity will together facilitate a new driving experience. Soon, checking and adjusting mirrors, seats, and driver settings upon getting into the car will be a thing of the past. Via a newly developed interior camera, Bosch’s test vehicle recognizes its drivers and then promptly loads the appropriate user profile with the preferred vehicle configuration as well as their most frequent destinations.
All drivers need to do is select the destination and the calculated route. Then, they immediately receive information about which stretches of the route must be driven manually and which ones are suitable for letting them sit back and relax. To ensure that drivers do not fall asleep during automated driving and can therefore safely retake control at any time, the interior camera continuously monitors the drivers’ eye movements. If their eyes remain closed for too long, a warning sounds; if there is still no response, the car then safely comes to a stop on its own.
According to a recent survey, 42 percent of those surveyed drive and make calls with their phone held to their ear. As many as 44 percent admit to reading and 23 percent admit to actually texting while driving; 25 percent say they read e-mails while driving. By itself, the act of telephoning while driving raises the risk of an accident by a factor of two to five. A driver who glances at a smartphone for only three seconds while traveling at a speed of 120 kilometers per hour is actually driving blind for 100 meters. A self-driving car cannot be distracted by a text message. With a 360-degree view, its sensors constantly monitor the traffic situation.
Bosch used a test vehicle to show what this future relationship between car and driver might look like during the ITS World Congress developer conference that took place in Melbourne, Australia in mid-October.