Sense, Think, Act

Sense, Think, Act:
What automated vehicles need to be capable of

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Infographic automated driving

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Infographic automated driving

In principle, an automated vehicle needs to have the same skills as a human driver – only better. Firstly, it has to be able to perceive and interpret its surroundings and its interior (“Sense”). For this, it uses the surround sensors just like humans use their senses. Secondly, it needs to process information received and plan its driving strategy (“Think”). This task is undertaken by the vehicle computer using software and intelligent algorithms. And thirdly, it needs to use its powertrain, steering and braking power to move its wheels in such a way that the planned driving strategy is put into practice (“Act”). To this effect, the wheels of a car are its limbs while the sub-systems for accelerating, steering and braking represent its muscles. Electronic lines are the nerve pathways sending impulses in the form of data to the sub-systems and stimulating action.

With its solutions and expertise in each of these three areas (Sense, Think and Act), Bosch is ideally positioned to gradually revolutionize mobility with automated technology.

Sense Think Act


Automated cars perceive and interpret

The surround sensors provide all the information used by the automated car for perception of its entire surroundings. In combination with high-resolution digital maps, they also ensure that it always knows its exact position. The sensors also keep a permanent eye on the interior of the vehicle and warn the driver in critical situations. Using connected services, the vehicle even knows about road conditions ahead and can adapt its driving behavior accordingly, e.g. in the event of icy conditions. Already today, Bosch has the requisite technologies for perception of the vehicle’s surroundings as well as its interior and has started volume production of many of them in its driver assistance systems.

More about Sense


Automated vehicles learn and plan ahead

Automated cars decide in real time which driving strategy is the best in order to resolve the current traffic situation and reach their destinations. This task is assumed by the vehicle computer using the interpreted surround sensor data processed by the software. By using artificial intelligence in the software development the vehicle learns to better understand its environment. The software distinguishes between various objects such as pedestrians, cyclists, buildings or other vehicles and familiarizes itself with their respective characteristic behavior. This enables the vehicle to make reliable forecasts and to drive safely and proactively.

More about Think


Automated vehicles drive safely to their destinations

The central vehicle computer calculates the values used by the vehicle’s powertrain, braking or steering system to implement individual driving maneuvers such as changing lanes, turning off or driving around bends. What direction needs to be steered in? How much acceleration or braking is necessary? Particularly high demands apply during automated driving for safety-critical systems and components which are designed redundantly for this purpose: If one of the systems is no longer able to fulfill its function, this is assumed by a back-up system. Bosch already avails of redundant system solutions for steering and braking.

More about Act

Perfect collaboration – in the car and in development

The complex demands associated with automated driving cannot be managed by a single company. That is why Bosch has concluded strategic partnerships with other companies and initiated numerous pilot and research projects. Such joint commitment covers many areas of automated driving and ranges from the development of innovative camera sensors and connected onboard systems through the generation of detailed , high-resolution digital maps to fully automated driving system for the city.

While some projects are based on technology already available today, such as sensors, others are clearly aligned toward the development of future technologies.

Find out more about the partnerships concluded, the resulting synergies, and how they help to get automated vehicles onto the road safely.

Safety inside: new interior monitoring system with artificial intelligence

The interior monitoring system detects driver drowsiness and distraction, and provides driving assistance.

The interior monitoring system detects driver drowsiness and distraction, and provides driving assistance.

International studies state that nearly one in ten accidents are caused by distraction or drowsiness. To avert such accidents Bosch has developed a new interior monitoring system featuring cameras and artificial intelligence (AI). The system is able to detect driver distraction and signs of drowsiness and it alerts the driver to critical situations. By keeping an eye on what is happening inside the car, it is hoped that a fundamental problem of self-driving cars will be solved. If responsibility for driving is to be transferred to the driver again following an automated drive on the freeway, say, the car needs to be sure that the driver is neither sleeping, nor reading the newspaper, nor writing e-mails on their smartphone.

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Bosch offers a unique system for precisely determining the position of automated vehicles

Special sensors scan the vehicle’s surroundings to create a road signature.

Special sensors scan the vehicle’s surroundings to create a road signature.

The satellite data used by navigation systems is, on its own, not adequate for determining the position of automated vehicles with sufficient accuracy. What is needed is a holistic solution comprising hardware, software, and services. This is precisely the kind of package Bosch is now offering as a redundant system that is unique in the world. The motion and position sensor specially developed by Bosch makes it possible for vehicles to determine their own position with pinpoint precision. A network of stationary terrestrial reference stations is used to correct inaccuracies in the satellite data. Smart Bosch algorithms then process the data from the various sources to accurately determine the position. Finally, the Bosch road signature service provides additional redundancy using a combination of map-based localization and sensors that scan the vehicle’s surroundings.

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Bosch provides vehicles with a highly reliable feel for the road

The combination of vehicle data and weather data helps provide the necessary standard of safety.

The combination of vehicle data and weather data helps provide the necessary standard of safety.

Correctly judging the state of the road surface is essential for safe driving. This assessment has hitherto been based mainly on each driver’s own perception of the surroundings. Bosch, however, has developed a predictive road-condition service that enables the vehicle itself to identify potential hazards in good time. The new multiphase concept uses weather data from Bosch partner Foreca and vehicle data collected from all connected cars. All this information is combined and analyzed using smart technologies to produce an accurate prediction that not only enhances safety in vehicles of all SAE automation levels but will also ensure that the availability of all highly automated driving functions is maximized.

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Effective solutions for holistic vehicle safety

Grafik: Safe Stop and eCall

Safety during automated driving means more than just consistently avoiding accidents. Automated and connected vehicles must also be protected from external manipulation. Furthermore, it must be possible to handle a possible failure by a system of safety relevance at all times.

Bosch already offers effective solutions for both: redundant system components protecting against failures and a well-conceived security concept for protecting against manipulation.

Redundant systeme protect automated cars from failure

For highly and fully automated driving, drivers no longer need to monitor the system. Then the safety of the occupants must be ensured by the system. Although the risk of failure of the system and individual components can be reduced to a minimum – it cannot be entirely eliminated. To safeguard the system against malfunctions, safety-critical sub-systems such as steering, braking, onboard power supply and data processing have a redundant design are controlled independently. When one system fails, another system is always is always capable of assuming the respective task and, for example, bringing the vehicle to a safe standstill in a critical situation.

Bosch already offers a redundant solution for safeguarding the braking system: independently of each other, the iBooster , an electromechanical brake booster, and the ESP® brake control system can decelerate the vehicle to a standstill without requiring intervention by the driver. The Servolectric® electric power steering from Bosch is also one of the key technologies for automated driving. The steering solution meets all safety requirements for highly automated driving.

Protection from hacker attacks


In the event of a cyberattack on the automated vehicle, Bosch’s multilayered IT security concept protects the vehicle systems against unauthorized access and manipulation. The microcontrollers, control units, in-vehicle communication system, vehicle electrical system, and interfaces to the internet and cloud are all secured with dedicated security measures. Even if attackers do manage to defeat individual security mechanisms, they will not gain access to the entire system and its security-critical components. Furthermore, an attack detection software is updated continuously to keep the automated vehicle protected and to secure it against new threats too.


Even more relaxed and comfortable driving – off the pedal and hands-free

With the driving assist, Bosch is working on a partially automated driving function that takes over longitudinal and lateral control and enables the driver to drive over the highway stress-free and without hands on the steering wheel. The function uses the merged sensor data from radar and video to detect the vehicle's surroundings ("Sense"), calculates in real time which driving strategy is best ("Think"), and accelerates, brakes and steers the vehicle through the highway traffic with foresight ("Act").

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Working at Bosch - Join the team

Development engineer Yodit Tessema

Giving automated vehicles a panoramic view

The automated vehicle knows what’s happening around it: A number of sensors constantly scan all of its surroundings. Yodit Tessema works on the software of that technology.

Engineering manager Moritz Dechant

Working in Silicon Valley

Moritz Dechant, engineering manager and former participant in the Junior Managers Program, speaks about his work in the most well-known high-tech location in the world, Silicon Valley.

Autonomous driving

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