Looking one second into the future
What will driving a car be like ten years from now? This is what Lutz Bürkle is trying to find out by researching specific scenarios. His vision: a future without traffic accidents.
Pedestrians are the most vulnerable road users. In 2014, 523 pedestrians died on German roads alone. Changing that is Lutz Bürkle’s objective. He is working on an assistance system that can take evasive action to prevent up to 58 percent of collisions with pedestrians.
To test the new system, Lutz Bürkle and his interdisciplinary team have built a research vehicle. One of its key components is a stereo video camera. Mounted behind the windshield, it provides a 3D image of the area around the vehicle, and detects pedestrians as well as oncoming traffic and obstacles on the road. A computer in the trunk analyzes the information. If a pedestrian suddenly appears in the field of vision, the system computes the likelihood of a collision as well as the route that must be taken to avoid it. All this happens at lightning speed – more than ten times a second.
“We have to predict where the pedestrian is likely to be in a second,” Lutz Bürkle explains. The development of the algorithms this requires lies at the heart of the team’s work. Bosch’s multi-faceted software expertise, which the company is expanding still further, plays an important role here. In Renningen, thanks to a test track which has been included as part of Bosch’s new research campus, Lutz Bürkle can literally take the algorithms he develops on his PC out for a trial run right away. The work done by Bosch researchers is helping the development of automated driving. From 2020, it is expected that Bosch technology will enable highly automated freeway driving without the need for constant driver supervision.