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VW’s Cariad signs self-driving JV with Bosch

Partnership aims to accelerate automated driving functions across all vehicle classes

28 Jan 2022

VOLKSWAGEN GROUP subsidiary Cariad has signed an engineering alliance with Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions (BCCS), which it says will “accelerate the introduction of automated driving functions across all vehicle classes”.


Aimed at creating what the group calls a “safe, stress-free and natural driving experience”, the collaboration brings together more than 1000 experts from BCCS and Cariad to create a software platform that it claims is capable of serving the world’s largest vehicle fleets. 


The aim is to provide a highly automated driving system, which is readily available to a “broad mass of consumers” and can provide autonomous driving capabilities up to SAE Level 3 (where vehicles have environmental detection and are capable of making ‘informed decisions’).


Furthermore, the companies say they are “exploring joint development targets” up to and beyond SAE Level 4 (where vehicles require no human interaction).


In the short-term, BCCD and Cariad will provide SAE Level 2 to vehicles sold by Volkswagen Group brands; the technology is capable of providing “hands-free systems for urban, extra-urban, and freeway driving”.


In time, the group says it will also be possible to integrate all the component parts developed by the alliance in other automakers’ vehicles and ecosystems.

“For privately-owned vehicles, progress to automated driving happens one step at a time,” Bosch board of management member Dr Markus Heyn said.

“At Bosch, we’ve been working on this for many years now (and), together with Cariad, we will now be accelerating the market launch of partially and highly automated driving functions across all vehicle classes, and thus making them available for everyone. 

“This will make driving safer and more relaxed. We will be able to offer the solutions we create to our other customers as well, and in this way set new standards,” he added.

BCCD and Cariad say that by combining the firms’ decades of experience in volume production, scalability, approval of driving systems, as well as expertise in the areas of software, data-driven development, and artificial intelligence, they hoped to “make automated driving a common sight on our roads”.

The primary focus of the project is to develop 360-degree surround-sensing technology capable of “understanding” an extensive pool of data gathered from real road traffic scenarios and combining it with what it calls “additional layers”. 

These layers may take the form of high-resolution maps – effectively providing self-driving and -guidance – or what it calls “seldom-occurring road-traffic incidents”. Both will be tested continuously, in real time, before being considered for use in roadgoing vehicles.

The companies say that by “teaching” the software to understand real traffic conditions, it will have a stronger basis from which to make higher levels of automated driving a reality.

“The best proving ground for the development of automated driving is road traffic. With the help of one of the world’s biggest connected-vehicle fleets, we will gain access to a huge database,” Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions president Dr Mathias Pillin explained.

Technology developed as part of the joint venture is expected to be installed in Volkswagen Group vehicles by as early as 2023.

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