Bosch pushes the software envelope for motoring hardware at Tech Day 2024

The annual Bosch Tech Day held in Stuttgart saw the German Tier-1 major showcase state-of-the-art software solutions for future vehicles and give a glimpse of what’s coming tomorrow today.

By Mayank Dhingra calendar 29 Jun 2024 Views icon4456 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

In the automotive world which is grappling with a host of mega trends, German Tier 1 major Bosch displayed a glimpse of what’s coming tomorrow today and more at its 2024 Bosch Tech Day event . I got a first-hand look at the company's latest innovations presented at the Bosch R&D headquarters in Renningen, near Stuttgart, in Germany earlier this month. 

With an aim to be a key enabler in the ongoing radical transformation of the mobility landscape, Bosch is developing futuristic solutions that will redefine the vehicle motion market with their advanced, and software-centric offerings that allow OEMs to make products that make driving safer, more dynamic, and convenient for users around the world.

Bosch’s Vehicle Motion or VM division has the combined expertise from domains such as braking, steering, vehicle motion software, occupant protection systems, as well as vehicle dynamics sensors under one roof, since the beginning of the calendar. The division is developing solutions to meet the requirements of software-defined vehicles (SDVs) and by-wire technologies, as well as hardware-agnostic control software such as Vehicle Motion Management (VMM), and its associated services.

At this year’s Bosch Tech Day, the company presented the latest solutions from its vehicle motion division that encompasses both hardware components, and embedded software as standalone solutions. The event premiered some of Bosch’s most-advanced and innovative solutions in the areas of vehicle motion that would allow automakers to adopt simplified vehicle architectures, and give them the freedom to experiment with more futuristic interior design concepts by liberating more space.

Here is a look at some of the advanced solutions showcased in prototype vehicles as well as demonstrated at the test track near the company’s salubrious R&D facility.

Cross-domain software systems solution VMM.controls vehicle motion in all six degrees of freedom, coordinating braking, steering, powertrain and suspension.

Vehicle Motion Management (VMM)
Vehicle Motion Management (VMM) is a cross-domain software systems solution that controls a vehicle’s motion in all six degrees of freedom, thereby coordinating the braking, steering, powertrain, and suspension systems. The hardware-agnostic software optimises vehicle dynamics, handling, and efficiency.

Moreover, VMM helps make the complexity of new vehicle architectures manageable as its systems-integrating software working on the central vehicle computers controls the diverse actuators of the various vehicle domains. VMM also includes data-based services that enhance safety and convenience.

eBrake to zero
This innovative software function aims to offer a jolt-free braking experience as the vehicle comes to a standstill. The company claims that this will make braking in stop-and-go traffic significantly more pleasant and comfortable for vehicle occupants, and thereby aim to alleviate their motion sickness. The function, demonstrated in an all-electric Jaguar I-Pace also noticeably improved vehicle noise during braking.

By optimally controlling an electric vehicle’s motor and braking system, the feature ensures that the electric motor brings the vehicle smoothly to a standstill without any need for the hydraulic brake to intervene. Even if the hydraulic brakes are needed, occupants will not notice the transition from motor brake to the hydraulic brake due to the seamless calibration of the combined system.

Road perception service uses vehicle sensor data to gather information about road surface and its friction to warn other drivers.

Data-based services
Bosch’s portfolio of cloud- and data-based services under the VMM domain also included a ‘road perception’ service. This function uses the vehicle’s sensor data to generate information about the state of the road and road-friction coefficients. The information is relayed in real time to the cloud, wherein this sensor data is merged with information from other vehicles as well as with data from weather services to give drivers advance warning of hazards such as aquaplaning, ice, potholes, and speed bumps.

The company says these data- and cloud-based services can also be used to automatically adjust vehicle dynamics in bends, as well as the driving strategy of the safety and assistance systems. The aim of the IoT-insights-enabled service is to offer enhanced safety and a more comfortable drive.

Act-by-wire tech replaces the mechanical connections between steering wheel and brake pedal and respective actuators of the steering and braking systems with electrical signal lines. 

On one hand, this makes new solutions possible that not only aid in critical driving situations, but can also avoid such situations altogether, thereby also enhancing comfort and vehicle agility. On the other hand, they also liberate new space for interior design. Act-by-wire technologies permit greater standardisation in braking and steering actuators, allow a crash-optimised installation, and take less installation space.

Moreover, the vehicle’s noise and vibration behaviour is also improved as the conventional brake pedal can be replaced by new designs, allowing the pedal travel distance to be reduced or even eliminated altogether. Furthermore, combining brake-by-wire with steer-by-wire solution reduces the number of variants for left-hand- and right-hand-drive vehicles, thereby reducing complexity and lowering cost of production for automakers.

The system incorporates redundancy in the design of the braking and steering actuators, power supply, and communication of act-by-wire systems for enhanced safety and offering a fail-safe mechanism.

Comprising a by-wire brake actuator and an electronic stability programme (ESP) module, this new Bosch braking system does away with the mechanical connection between brake pedal and braking system, thereby offering a more robust and efficient solution. By virtue of redundant signal lines, the braking request is transmitted from an electronic brake pedal to the by-wire brake actuator and the ESP system.

The interplay of these two components ensures that the brake-by-wire system brakes more dynamically in all conditions. And, in the event of an error, both the by-wire brake actuator and ESP can build up the required braking pressure at all four wheels. Therefore, by doing away with the mechanical connection between the brake pedal and braking system, new possibilities get opened for the design of the vehicle interior, and the human-machine interface (HMI).

With a by-wire brake actuator and an ESP, Bosch's new braking system removes mechanical connection between brake pedal and braking system.

By-wire brake actuator
Based on a proven technology, Bosch’s new by-wire brake actuator translates the driver’s braking intention into action. This lightweight component can be installed flexibly in the vehicle without the need of fixing it to the firewall. This makes it easier to design the vehicle so that it behaves better in the event of a collision. The brake pedal and by-wire brake actuator are connected by electrical lines, and with little energy consumption, the actuator sets the hydraulic system pressure at all four wheels. With its very rapid pressure build-up, smooth operation, and precise control, it is especially suitable for executing the braking requirements of the driver assistance functions such as autonomous emergency braking, and for a smooth transition from motor to hydraulic braking. As the second brake actuator, the ESP assumes the role of controlling individual wheels to stabilise the vehicle if necessary.

By-wire brake pedal
The introduction of brake-by-wire technologies and the elimination of the mechanical connection between brake pedal and braking system opens new possibilities for the design of the HMI and vehicle interior. In this setup, the brake pedal is replaced by a redundant by-wire brake pedal that detects the braking request through sensors, and transmits it to the braking system as an electrical signal. Apart from offering more possibilities of innovatively packaging the interior and allowing flexible integration of various components, the by-wire brake pedal system from Bosch also claims to help make the driving experience safer, more relaxed, and more personalised.

In this final technological showcase of a steer-by-wire system, the mechanical connection between the vehicle’s steering column and steering gear is eliminated. The new system now combines a steering-wheel actuator and a steering-rack actuator, and by using precise sensor technology, the steering-wheel actuator detects the driver’s steering request and transmits it digitally to the steering-rack actuator, which then steers the wheels accordingly.

Steer-by-wire system eliminates the mechanical connection between the steering column and steering gear to now combine a steering-wheel & steering-rack actuator. 

The steering-wheel actuator also creates steering feel by giving the driver feedback about driving state and road surface. Here, specific signals such as those from ruts or potholes can be partially or completely filtered out, damped, or even amplified, depending on the automaker’s calibration requirements. Furthermore, the steering-wheel actuator makes it possible to position the wheel to suit the individual driver or – in the case of highly automated vehicles – to stow away the steering wheel completely for a limited time.

Most of these advanced solutions are still under development and testing phases at Bosch, and could only be expected to undergo commercialisation, first in Europe around CY2026-27, with the German Tier-1 major already working in close coordination with some of its prospective OEM customers.

ALSO READ: Bosch expects continued demand for ICE-based hybrid vehicles in foreseeable future

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