Motorway Assistant from Bosch

Bosch
Motorway assistant from Bosch
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U nd this development is already well advanced. Sure, automatic lane changing in combination with cruise control and spacers is already a household name, but the Bosch system refines the functions. An Acura RLX with a V6 with over 300 hp serves as the test vehicle. Why, of all things, such an exotic vehicle by European standards? 'Quite simply because there are a particularly large number of Bosch parts installed in this vehicle, and that makes our work easier,' says function developer Pascal Oser.

So, get into the car, put on your seat belt and off to the A8 between Stuttgart and Karlsruhe. The crux of the system is the environment sensors. The test car is equipped with five radar sensors. Three at the front and two at the back, with a scanning range of between 80 and 150 meters. There is also a front-facing mono camera on the inside mirror. Some of the technology is already known, for example from the VW Golf, but here it combines the data from the sensors and the camera for better performance.

If there is no sign of life from the driver, it comes to a standstill

In the front display, green lines show that Highway assist is active. In principle, after setting the speed, the car can drive alone and neither feet nor hands are necessary. Basically because a quick grip on the wheel is required every 15 seconds, as a sign of life from the driver to the car. If this does not happen, the vehicle brakes automatically to a standstill. This prevents a nodding pilot from simply driving on and on. In the end, the responsibility remains with the driver.

In practice, however, the Autobahn Assistant is more talented than many a human driver. For example, he adheres to the right-hand driving law and always suggests a change of lane if the lane is clear. And before the system allows itself to overtake on the right, it reduces the speed to that of the driver on the left. Some of them can cut a generous slice of motorway etiquette for themselves. If the driver is stuck in a traffic jam, as is not unusual on the A8, for example, the traffic jam assistant takes over the longitudinal and lateral guidance up to a speed of 60 km /h. The system is largely based on the car in front, as there is the possibility of the camera blocking the view in heavy trafficto obscure the lane markings. This is where the radar sensors step in.

The machine drives humanly

Changing lanes to the left is the highway assist whenever there is a sufficiently large gap (half the speedometer distance to the front and rear) and the set speed cannot be maintained due to cars in front. Then a white arrow in the fully digital cockpit signals that the driver can initiate a lane change by activating the indicator. In a study, the developers examined 40 drivers in terms of lane change behavior - from sporty to defensive. They then calculated the mean value from this in order to depict the process as authentically as possible. And indeed: The test car doesn't just switch to the left or right, it accelerates out of its own lane, shifts down if necessary and conveys very human driving behavior.

The semi-autonomous magic works up to a speed of 130 km /h, from then on the driver has to take over himself. Speaking of speed: the camera recognizes traffic signs with speed information and forwards this to the driver as a recommendation. Pressing a button then adjusts the cruise control accordingly. Reading the latest edition of auto motor und sport while driving is unfortunately not yet possible. Ultimately, however, it is also a partially and not fully autonomous system. The driver's interaction is still required at certain points. Otherwise points will result in Flensburg.

The greatest challenge on the way to fully autonomous driving is to create acceptance among the population for it, speculates Pascal Oser. Functions such as automatic parking could build sympathy, but the majority of the systems are probably only tolerated if they are optional.

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