Though Bosch is a brand better known by consumers for power tools and appliances, one of the ways the German company got its start was building magnetos for some of the first vehicles ever manufactured. Today, Bosch continues to supply the auto industry, specifically with driver assistance and autonomous driving features—and their newest product aims to reduce the amount of traffic fatalities with cyclists.
Bosch’s new driver assistance system—called the iBooster—is able to bring a car to a full stop from 25 MPH in 190 milliseconds—less time than it takes to blink twice. Its rear-mounted mid-range radar sensors detect objects approaching within a 20-meter radius, helping drivers identify other vehicles or hidden cyclists or pedestrians when backing up, changing lanes, or parking parallel. It can also warn drivers and passengers to look when opening their doors so as not to clip a passing cyclist or car, a feature that continues to function even after the vehicle has been turned off.
In 2015, traffic fatalities in the U.S. involving cyclists rose 12.2% from the previous year, for a total of 818, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The iBooster serves as Bosch’s answer to this deadly issue. “Driver assistance systems are the next step along the path toward accident-free driving,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, a Bosch boardmember. “These electronic assistants respond more quickly than people can. They provide support just where drivers need it—in busy city traffic.”
Gerhard Steiger, president of Bosch’s Chassis Systems Control Division, agreed: “An emergency braking assistant may reduce braking distance by the few crucial centimeters that can mean the difference between life and death.”
Currently, only Swedish automaker Volvo offers a system that assists with braking when a cyclist or pedestrian is detected by sensors. But starting in 2018, cyclist detection with assisted braking will be included as part of the star rating program for the European New Car Assessment Program (Euro NCAP).
Bosch officials hope to have their system ready for this rating change. Although tests have as yet only been performed with Volkswagens, the iBooster system will be available in a variety of vehicle models in the future.