Bosch’s ‘re­dun­dant’ sys­tems mak­ing strides for driver­less cars

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Ger­man au­to­mo­tive sup­plier Bosch is mak­ing big strides in bring­ing au­ton­o­mous cars closer to re­al­ity.

A lot of con­cept cars th­ese days are de­but­ing with no steer­ing wheel or ped­als, which sounds out­landish, but it’s ac­tu­ally not that far-fetched. Most of them have ped­als or steer­ing wheels that are hid­den away un­til they’re needed. Bosch is de­vel­op­ing such “re­dun­dant” steer­ing and brak­ing sys­tems — “re­dun­dant” mean­ing that they’re in­cluded for safety rea­sons but un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, you should never need them.

Re­dun­dant steer­ing and brak­ing sys­tems are a key fac­tor in mak­ing sure au­ton­o­mous driv­ing cars pass the safety reg­u­la­tions needed to make driver­less cars vi­able for mass con­sump­tion. Re­dun­dant steer­ing en­sures that all safety-crit­i­cal func­tions con­tinue dur­ing the rare event of a sys­tem fail­ure. That means should a fail­ure of any kind oc­cur with one of the steer­ing com­po­nents, the steer­ing will still be func­tional enough to drive safely with­out any hu­man in­ter­ven­tion.

The re­dun­dant brak­ing sys­tem fol­lows the same con­cept and en­sures full brak­ing ca­pac­ity if a fail­ure of one or more com­po­nents within the en­tire sys­tem should oc­cur.

Bosch has devel­oped two dis­tinct re­dun­dancy sys­tems — one for steer­ing and one for brak­ing that should help in­crease con­sumer con­fi­dence in au­ton­o­mous car tech­nol­ogy.

Bosch’s goal is to sup­port all lev­els of au­toma­tion de­fined by the So­ci­ety of Au­to­mo­tive En­gi­neers and the tech­nol­ogy is con­tin­u­ally be­ing re­fined, as Level 3 SAE ve­hi­cles will be­gin to hit the mar­ket at the tail end of 2018.

The re­dun­dancy brak­ing so­lu­tion com­bines an electro­mechan­i­cal brake booster called ibooster and an elec­tronic sta­bil­ity con­trol sys­tem. Both com­po­nents are in­de­pen­dently ca­pa­ble of per­form­ing brak­ing func­tions for the ve­hi­cle in the case of a fail­ure in ei­ther of the sys­tems.

The re­dun­dant steer­ing sys­tem takes a sim­i­lar ap­proach and uses an elec­tric power steer­ing sys­tem with a fail-op­er­a­tional func­tion. The sys­tem can en­able ei­ther a driver or au­topi­lot sys­tem to make a safe stop in the rare case of a sin­gle fail­ure. Mit­i­gat­ing in­stances of such fail­ures is a key step in mak­ing fully au­ton­o­mous driv­ing fully re­al­iz­able.

Con­trib­uted

The re­dun­dant steer­ing sys­tem uses an elec­tric power steer­ing sys­tem with a fail­op­er­a­tional

func­tion.

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