Bosch and Daimler announce pilot city for automated driving in California
Bosch and Daimler have chosen California as the pilot location for a 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 aims to 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 U.S. technology company Nvidia as the supplier of the artificial intelligence (AI) 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 are guided by a shared philosophy: “The decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system,” said 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.”
“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.”
For their driving system, Bosch and Daimler rely on a control unit network made up of several individual control units. The electronic control unit (ECU) network handles all the information gathered and transmitted by disparate radar, video, LiDAR, and ultrasonic sensors. It combines data sourced from all the surround sensors in a process called sensor fusion. Within fractions of a second, it assesses this information and plans the trajectory of the vehicle.
The companies signed an agreement with Nvidia to supply the platform that can run the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms generated by Bosch and Daimler for the vehicle’s movement. Under the contract, Nvidia will provide its Drive Pegasus platform powered by high-performance AI automotive processors along with system software that will process the vehicle-driving algorithms generated by Bosch and Daimler using machine-learning methods. As a result, the ECU network is expected to reach a computing capacity of hundreds of trillion operations per second, according to the companies. Bosch and Daimler say they will also be able to tap Nvidia’s expertise to help develop the platform.
Analyzing and interpreting the variety of incoming data and translating them into driving commands within a 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.
The high computing capacity and the huge number of operations to be performed mean that the ECU network needs to be cooled. Bosch and Daimler have developed a concept based on liquid cooling. In this jointly developed system for highly automated and driverless driving in cities, Mercedes-Benz intends to deploy battery-powered vehicles. These cars have a cooling system onboard, so engineers can make the most of this legacy technology by integrating the ECU network into the battery cells’ advanced cooling circuit.
The control unit network will be used in the fleet vehicles which Daimler and Bosch will put on the roads of California in the second half of 2019. In addition, 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 should be able to provide information about how fully automated and driverless vehicles can be integrated into a multi-modal transport network.
Bosch and Daimler say their aim is 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, according to the companies. In addition, they say 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 license, for example. The goal of the project is to introduce the new technology early and fully validated.
Bosch and Daimler employees will 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 U.S. 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.
Additionally, since 2014, Mercedes-Benz has had approval to test automated vehicles in the Sunnyvale/California region. The company also has had comparable approval for the Sindelfingen/Böblingen region since 2016. Bosch has been testing automated driving on public roads in Germany and in the U.S. since early 2013.
Plans call for the fully automated and driverless driving technology to be ramped up for mass production by the beginning of the next decade.