Vision of the connected car of the future

Bosch unveils its future transport connected car with a vision of automated driving and the vehicle as a fully connected personal assistant.

Car of the future concept with gesture recognitionAttendees of the re:publica event taking place this week in Berlin will get a glimpse of the future of motoring as Bosch unveils its idea of intelligent mobility. According to the German mobility expert company, during the next decade, massives leaps will be made in the design of vehicles, which will be autonomous and fully connected.

The way Bosch sees autonomy is as a new digital living environment which will go far beyond the predicted improvements in fuel efficiency and safety. They will provide the means to enhance communications on the move in every aspect of life. According to Dr Volkmar Denner, the CEO of Bosch, the car of the future will be a digital living environment.

“Alongside the home and the office, the car will become the third living space and a personal assistant,” he said.

A single driver interface

The car of the future as displayed by Bosch at re:publica is equipped with a new, grand design of how the driver will interface with the car’s controls. This includes large surface monitors that adapt to present the most appropriate information to the driver depending on operation mode and the functions being performed.

Extending to the centre console and the passenger side of the vehicle, the displays in the car can be organised to suit the needs of the driver using gesture recognition technology for ease of use.

Interior lighting is also adaptive and can be configured by the vehicle occupants to suit their needs and can be used as an alert to notify the diver of potential hazards such as vulnerable road users. Directional lighting also cues the driver as to which part of the vehicle attention needs to be diverted to.

Automated driving and safe control

Safety is in prime position for Bosch when designing driver interfaces and the car of the future is no exception. Apart from the extensive range of existing safety features such as automatic emergency braking and lane keeping assistance when used in non-autonomous mode, the car also ensures that the driver’s attention is kept on the task of driving safely by minimising distraction.

Social media, communication functions, real time traffic and weather information access are all only accessible during fully automated driving mode so that these functions can’t distract a driver that is operating the vehicle in manual mode.

Similarly, Bosch engineers paid special attention to the safe and seamless transfer of this responsibility from the driver to the car and back. In a first step, drivers are informed when highly automated driving is possible. If they want the car to take control, they simply place their thumbs on specific contact points on the left and right sides of the steering wheel for three seconds. If drivers wish to regain control of the vehicle or are about to exit the freeway, they use the same procedure.

Autonomy brings freedom

In autonomous mode, the concept of the car as a personal assistant really comes into its own! Without the need to focus on the task of driving, the driver is able to control communications including video conferencing, access to social media and office tasks, using the gesture recognition capability to move displays between consoles and adjust content as required.

Beyond office and telecommunication functions, the car also makes best use of the internet of things to connect to other domains, such as the driver’s home. If a visitor rings the doorbell, the car switches on the intercom. A fingerprint sensor in the car allows the driver to open the front door remotely. In this way, a package delivery person can be admitted into a sealed-off foyer, for example. The driver can also confirm receipt of the package by fingerprint. Once again, this cannot happen outside of autonomous mode.

Once the vehicle arrives at home, it reconnects with the home security system, allowing the driver to first retrieve images from the home’s exterior cameras before driving onto the property. It is also possible to view the vehicle’s direct surroundings using the on-board cameras. This prevents trespassers hiding behind the car from gaining access to the property. Such features are particularly attractive in countries where security is at a premium. Once the passengers have all exited the car, it then parks itself in the garage – ready for the next drive.

The car of the future was created in cooperation with EDAG and features body panels created using 3D printing technology. For secure access to the vehicle’s functions, biometric fingerprint recognition technology is used as the “key” to the vehicle.

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Intelligent Mobility

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