BOSCH VISIONX WILL TURN ROADS INTO DATA HIGHWAYS
Bosch presented recently 40-ton smart device in the form of a truck tractor – all part of its VisionX concept study on the future of commercial vehicles. “Connected, electrified, and automated – that’s the future of trucks and buses. And that’s what Bosch has encapsulated in VisionX,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. One of the many technologies envisaged in VisionX is platooning. Besides making life easier for drivers on long journeys, this also represents a significant safety improvement. What’s more, platooning offers a major boost to transport efficiency.
In the future, multiple assistance systems will combine with automation to make trucks safer and more reliable – almost as if they were on rails. Vehicles will receive all the data they need in real time from the Bosch IoT Cloud, including information on their route, traffic congestion, detours, and the unloading facilities available at their destination. This lets them avoid downtime. What’s more, some aspects of driving will be taken over by the truck itself. For instance, once it reaches the freeway, it joins a platoon – a kind of freight train composed of trucks. In such a platoon, the truck is one of a number of trucks all following a lead vehicle to which they are electronically connected and linked. With the convoy members accelerating, braking, and steering in sync, automated driving reaches a whole new level, increasing safety and taking the strain off drivers. The driver steers the truck until it receives data identifying a suitable convoy. The same applies when the truck leaves the platoon to exit the freeway; at that point, the driver resumes control to complete the journey in manual or partially automated mode.
Increasing efficiency still further will continue to be a major focus in the future. That’s why the Bosch VisionX concept study takes the diesel engine – which is particularly economical in the world of heavy goods transport – and combines it with electric motors for auxiliary systems such as the hydraulic pump. Trucks of the future will benefit not only from this hybrid technology, but also from the advantages of convoying, which include improved safety thanks to coordinated braking, accelerating, and steering, as well as a significant economic plus. “In a convoy, you can combine the safety gains of automated driving with the efficiency boost that is so crucial to the commercial vehicle sector,” says Heyn. “Slipstream driving enables fuel savings of up to 10 percent. That’s a strong argument in the commercial vehicle industry.”
Although a vehicle’s fuel consumption plays a key role in the total cost of ownership, other factors also play a major part, such as the losses incurred whenthey stand idle. The Bosch VisionX concept study shows how much scope there is for optimizing this situation in the future, too. For example, predictive maintenance can monitor the technical condition of a truck in real time and inform the freight forwarder of any maintenance work or repairs that are due. This is the best way to plan breaks in a truck’s schedule, thus keeping downtime to a minimum and further boosting transport efficiency.
VisionX is developed by the Bosch Mobility Solutions groug, which is the largest Bosch Group business sector. According to preliminary figures, its 2015 sales came to 41,7 billion euros, or 60 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.