Automotive Supplier Flashes Mobility Technology & Alliances
Other than bots delivering take-out meals and suburban Phoenix residents, the likely first encounter for most folks with autonomous vehicles may be in a shuttle. Several demonstration programs are already running, mostly supplied with vehicles from start-up companies. The big boys are now jumping in with Robert Bosch, one of the largest automotive suppliers in the world, at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES) offering its take on what appears to be a mobile room full of seats. It’s part bus, part horizontal elevator, arriving, of course, with a compliment of smartphone-based apps.
Bosch also highlighted a new program working with automaker Daimler and technology provider Nvidia to accelerate automated driving in cities. As one of the most complex driving environments, cities present many challenges for autonomous vehicles (AVs). However, cities also represent the most likely market where AVs will first roll out because of the density of traffic
The three companies will put technology-laden S-Class Mercedes on the road in Stuttgart (Daimler and Bosch’s home base) and Silicon Valley (Nvidia’s home base where both Daimler and Bosch have research labs). The vehicles they’re experimenting with have versatile, redundant systems capable of handling hundreds of trillions of operations per second, based around Nvidia Drive Pegasus platform artificial intelligence (AI) processors. AI is a key building block in the development of self-driving cars that won’t require drivers. Information from radar, video, lidar and ultrasonic sensors all has to be acknowledged and processed in fractions of seconds. Bosch and Daimler bring their combined more than two centuries of automotive experience to the program while Nvidia comes to the party with rapidly developing computer technology that has grown out of the gaming industry. Daimler plans to have fully autonomous cars available early in the next decade.