Bosch is to invest 300 million euro (Rs 2,293 crore) in the Bosch Center for Artificial Intelligence over the next five years. The technology products and services major will also hire 100 experts in India, US and Germany. The company announced this today at Bosch Mobility Experience, Boxberg, Germany.
Identifying autonomous vehicles as the future towards safer urban mobility, the German major is working towards developing Artificial Intelligence (AI) that will not only be able to drive defensively but also have the ability to react faster than humans. Bosch believes that AI will help make roads in our urban areas safer – for pedestrians, cyclists, and, not least, for the occupants of vehicles.
In 2016 sales in driver assistance system first passed the billion-euro mark – orders last year were reported to be worth 3.5 billion euros (Rs 26,754 crore). Unit sales of radar sensors are expected to grow by 60 percent this year, and those of video sensors by 80 percent.
In April, 2017 the company announced its alliance with Daimler to advance the development of fully automated and driverless motoring.
Three steps to make self-driving a reality
Bosch believes to make self-driving cars a reality requires three crucial steps.
The first is understanding. The car has to know what its sensors are detecting. Like a human being, a computer with artificial intelligence first has to learn. In this context, experts speak about deep learning. But while a small child only needs to see a few trucks before it is able to recognise any truck as such, computers in the laboratory have to see millions of commercial vehicles before they can identify a truck. To be viable in road traffic, artificial intelligence has to sift millions of images and reliably identify cars, trucks, pedestrians, cyclists, trees, and other objects.
The second one is to enable the cars to make decisions. Cars have to be capable of more than perceiving and understanding their surroundings. They also have to learn to anticipate, to guess what is most likely going to happen in the next few seconds. The range of sensor data creates the basis on which artificial intelligence can make decisions. When radar and video data are merged, the image of the car’s surroundings becomes more detailed, allowing pedestrians and their direction of movement to be identified. On this basis, the AI system computes the probability of someone moving onto the road ahead, and initiates braking in good time.
The final step toward self-driving cars is high-resolution maps. Bosch is working on this together with TomTom, the Dutch provider of maps and traffic information, as well as with the Chinese companies AutoNavi, Baidu, and NavInfo. Bosch says its vision for the future is that vehicles should use sensor data to keep the cloud-based digital map constantly uptodate and wants to create an open standard for this. The empirical knowledge the company has gathered suggests that keeping a high-resolution map uptodate for freeways in Europe, North America, and Asia Pacific will require vehicle fleets of around one million vehicles each.
Role of big data
Data plays a crucial role in automated driving a self-driving car generates huge quantities of data – as much as one gigabyte a second. Processing such huge quantities of data needs for more than classic control units, Instead, a car equipped with artificial intelligence also needs a brain. Bosch says it will deliver this brain for self-driving cars in the future and its AI onboard computer is expected to go into production by the beginning of the next decade at the latest.
This computer for AI will guide self-driving cars through even complex traffic situations, or ones that are new to the car. To do so, it will need to be capable of up to 30 trillion floating-point operations per second – three times as many as a human brain. And with every new situation it encounters on the road, artificial intelligence will learn more.