Bosch recently hosted the Bosch Mobility Experience at its test track in Flat Rock, Michigan. The event is a chance for Bosch to demonstrate to the media all of the cool technologies that they have been developing for implementation into passenger and commercial vehicles. Many people don’t realize that Bosch is responsible for developing many of the technologies that we have come to love today. The company flew us out to Michigan to see what sort of tech is coming out in the near future. Here are their Top 5 Technologies that work to make your car safer and faster than ever.
5 – Perfectly Keyless
Keyless entry is a standard feature on many new cars today, but Bosch is developing a way to improve on the concept. Perfectly Keyless is one technology Bosch is working on that uses your smartphone as a key for your car. All you need is the Bosch app on your smartphone, special software in your vehicle, and a Bluetooth connection to the vehicle. Better yet, you can actually send a virtual key to your friend’s phones for specific amounts of time, if you choose. Say your buddy needs to borrow your car: Bosch’s technology will allow you to send them a temporary key to their smartphone.
Perfect Keyless can also be usefully applied to rental car fleets or ride sharing services. Perhaps someday in the near future, you will be able to grab your rental car by tapping the unlock button on your phone.
4 – Automatic Emergency Breaking – Cyclist Detection
Many modern cars now have Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) systems. However, there are some limitations with the current technology. While it’s great at recognizing cars and other large objects, AEB tends to have issues with smaller obstacles, such as cyclists. Bosch explained that this is due to the narrow field of vision that most AEB systems use. Bosch expanded the system’s field of view to roughly 45 degrees, greatly expanding the range in which the system can detect hazards. I rode along in a Jaguar F-Pace Bosch fitted with this tech. They accelerated the car up to about 20 MPH and sent a dummy cyclist out in the path of the SUV. To my amazement – and momentary discomfort – the Jaguar jolted to a halt just before it smashed into the cyclist.
This technology only works at neighborhood speeds, for the time being. Still, it has the potential to save many people from getting injured or worse.
3 – Rear Wheel Steering
Passive rear-wheel steering is another technology that’s been around for awhile. However, Bosch is working to improve this concept as well, in the name of both safety and performance. In order to help with safety, Bosch is using rear-wheel steering as a precautionary form of electronic stability control. If the computers detect a the car’s about to slide sideways out of control, they can turn the rear wheels to control the spin before it happens.
Furthermore, rear-wheel steering can help with maneuverability and stability on the highway. Bosch’s system turns the rear wheels opposite the direction of the front under 25 MPH to help maneuvering, while it turns the rears in the same direction when you’re on the highway to make lane changing smoother. The result is a feeling like a slight drift in a parking lot, and more like crabbing while on the highway.
However, if you don’t want the rear wheels to intervene – for instance, when you’re drifting, you can always turn the rear-wheel steering off. That allows for some real skids, at least when you actually want them to happen.
2 – Next-Gen Cockpit
Infotainment is a crucial piece of driver interaction. We use our infotainment on a daily basis. Badly designed systems can test our patience, sometimes to the point where it make or break the entire car. To that end, Bosch is developing a series of next-generation cockpits to make our automotive lives a bit less stressful.
Bosch is integrating facial and voice recognition technology to allow drivers to easily create user-specific profiles in your vehicle. That way, you can set a number of features like the seating position, infotainment settings and climate controls to your liking. Bosch showed off this technology by including calendar schedules and radio presets that are voice or face-activated. However, you could adjust your seat settings or any other setting in the car just as easily.
Bosch also incorporated a series of microphones designed to project your voice to the backseat, and vice versa. Drivers will be able to communicate with passengers in the back seats without taking their eyes of the road. Naturally, technology designed to keep your eyes on the road helps to improve safety.
Finally, Bosch employs machine learning to help the car connect to its driver to an even greater extent. Essentially, it means that a computer is recording the context of every interaction, storing that data, and accessing it later to try and predict what you need in a given scenario. Bosch’s system takes into account the day of the week, the weather, the location, and how you interacted with the infotainment system. So if you like to partake in some easily listening after work, the car should know just what to play on the commute home. When it senses that you are in similar scenarios, it will suggest actions based on what you’ve done in the past.
1 – Performance Traction Management
Bosch has been developing traction control systems since the 1980’s. However, this Chevrolet Corvette Z06 represents the latest iteration, called Performance Traction Management. The system carefully monitors wheel slip to figure out how much power can go to the rear wheels. It’s a tall order for a car that makes 650 horsepower and 650 lb-ft of torque from its supercharged V8.
Of course, with that power at their disposal, they had to demonstrate the Performance Traction Management’s prowess. Bosch’s test driver took the Corvette to roughly 4,000 RPM and then dumped the clutch. Where, say, a Hellcat would burn rubber for a week after such a maneuver, the PTM – which Bosch developed for the Corvette – took off like a bat out of hell. It reached 60 MPH from a dead stop in the span of roughly 3.0 seconds. Frankly, I had never experienced that much out-and-out speed before.
The test driver finished the demonstration by then slamming the brakes to demonstrate the ABS tuning. Then, the driver decided to take a sharp turn at 80 MPH. The PTM simply scoffed and kept the car from spinning with relative ease. However, with some adjustments, you can get the car to slip a little bit before the traction control takes over.
A very special thanks to Bosch for sponsoring TFL’s presence at the event. Bosch wasn’t able to give a specific timetable on any of their technologies. However, most techs who were demonstrating the technology agreed it will all hit the market within the next five years. Come back to TFLcar for more news, views, and real-world safety & performance tech reviews! Check out the video above for my reactions to everything Bosch had on offer.