Bosch tests automated driving in Japan

January 22, 2016 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Automotive supplier Bosch has started tests of automated driving in Japan, with the first intermediate goal being the development of a motorway autopilot. This motorway pilot will enable vehicles and users for automated driving starting about the year 2020.

“With left-hand traffic and a very complex overall traffic situation, Japan will provide valuable insights to developers”, explained Bosch board member Dirk Hoheisel. The test drives will take place on public roads in the environment of the cities Tohoku and Tomei in the prefectures Tochigi and Kanagawa as well as on the Bosch test sites in Shiobara and Memanbetsu.

Since about three years Bosch is testing automated driving on the A81 autobahn in Germany and on Interstate highway 280 in the U.S. During this period, the test fleet covered more than 10.000 kilometres. The vehicles move completely autonomously in real-world traffic; they accelerate, decelerate and overtake. Depending on traffic situation, the electronic control units and algorithms decide when to activate turn signals and change lane. The decisions of the systems are based on a sensor-generated virtual image of the vehicle’s surroundings. In addition, Bosch partner TomTom is providing precise map data.

Before automated driving will become reality, automated parking will take place – at least according to Bosch’s agenda. An automatic parking assistant is already available in series vehicles, car to manoeuvre the vehicle into a parking gap while the user is already outside the car. Currently Bosch is developing a system in cooperation with Daimler that goes one step further: The vehicle is autonomously searching for a parking gap and performs the related manoeuvres in absence of the driver. Afterwards, the driver can summon the car via smartphone and it automatically will find the way to the driver.

To bring automated driving from the prototype to series vehicles it is necessary to create the legal preconditions. In Japan, the U.S. and Germany the topic is on the political agenda. The Vienna treaty, signed by Germany and so far laying don the possibility of intervention by a driver at any time, is at the verge of being modified: An April 23, 2016, changes of the agreement become effective that allow