Friday, June 3, 2016

[Video] Bosch retrofits Model S with its fully autonomous sensors

By now it is no secret that Bosch, the world's largest supplier of automated components, is working on its own autonomous driving system, with a customer list including Google, Tesla Motors, Audi and more. Two years ago, their mobility business unit saw North American sales grow 10% to $8 billion, one of its largest businesses in the region. Bosch's sales in driver assist systems are already increasing by a third every year and are expected to exceed 1 billion euros this year.
For Bosch, this means more investment in this technology, in fact their website is full of job openings for autonomous driving R&D specialists and data analysts. Its rapidly growing team of more than 2000 engineers in Palo Alto, California and Abstatt, Germany have been focusing since 2011 on fine tuning driver assist technology and other technologies for automobiles, off-highway applications, two-wheelers, shipping, and rail transportation.
Last week, CNN was able to test drive one of Bosch's retrofitted Model S on the roads in Abstatt, Germany to see how autonomous these cars can be in real world environment. This prototype is meant to replace a human driver. Bosch has installed its own surround sensors - 6 to be exact - all around the car. In addition, long range radars are fitted at the front and back to detect and classify objects on the road. An added touchscreen - next to Model S' own 17 inch - controls the system and shows a sensor-eye view of the road ahead as well as the car’s surroundings.
CNN was able to experience autonomous driving first hand doing 120 kph - or 75 mph - on a stretch of the German autobahn. Bosch expects driver-less cars to be introduced to the market as soon as 2020, something Elon Musk has mentioned on many occasions however warned state regulations might delay this. The German company's reasoning behind investing in this technology is to "increase efficiency and safety on the road" says Project Manager Maria Belen Aranda Colas.
Forbes previously reported that Bosch spent an estimated $225,000 to retrofit two Model S, each costing about $90,000. That took roughly 1,400 man hours to install 50 Bosch components including nearly a mile of cabling to tie them all together.

You can watch CNN test drive of Bosch's Model S below:

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