The car of the future: a personal butler

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

At the re:publica, Bosch tries to inspire the digital community with a new concept vehicle that unites three properties: It is always online, connected with its ambient and moves along basically under the control of algorithms instead of a human driver – much like the scenario sketched by most automotive OEMs for the decade ahead.


Since the new functions will also yield new user expectations, the interior of our set of wheels will undergo massive mutations. With its demo vehicle at re:publica, Bosch intends to show how future cars could interact with the drivers and what becomes possible through the new functionality. “The car of the future will turn into a new, digitized life environment”, commented Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner. With its communications abilities including video conference and internet connection, the vehicle will turn into the third habitat of modern society, after the home and the workplace. At the same time, the vehicle will turn into a personal assistant.


Following a holistic approach, the human-machine interface in Bosch’s showcar offers a single HMI which however is widely context-sensitive and at any times utilizes exactly the type of interaction that makes most sense in the respective situation. Supported by a comprehensive interior lighting concept, the holistic HMI replaces today’s center and front displays through large-area screens that can display all relevant information flexibly, according to the situation. The interior color adapts to the user’s preference but also transports information. For instance, if a pedestrian or cyclist is on collision course, the interior lighting directs the driver’s attention to the respective side through by blinking. #


In the vehicle, the driver has access to cloud-based traffic and weather information in real-time as well as to social media and communications applications. To prevent that the usage of these functions creates a safety risk, they only can be used during automated driving. Bosch’s developers put particular emphasis on the handover from autopilot to driver and vice versa. If the sensors and algorithms indicate that in the respective traffic situation automated driving is possible, this information appears on the driver’s display. If he than touches the contact areas to the left and right of the steering wheel with his thumbs for three seconds, the autopilot takes over. If the driver intends to get back into the loop, he signalizes his wish in the same way to the car.


During automated phases of driving, the flexible display concept brings its strengths to bear. According to the situation, videoconference images, emails or media players are in the focus and can be moved back and forth between the various displays by means of simple, intuitive gestures. The driver identifies himself against the car through a fingerprint; the vehicle then activates the profile with his previously stored preferences.

A new style of interaction between humans and the car: Bosch’s showcar
at the re:publica digital conference

Through the inter et of things the vehicle can connect to other domains as well, for instance with the driver’s home. If there someone is ringing the door bell, the door intercom is connected to the car. Through the fingerprint sensor, the driver can remotely open the door, if he wishes – for instance to allow a parcel carrier to enter a lock area in the house. Then, he can acknowledge the reception of the parcel through his fingerprint sensor.


When it arrives at home, the vehicle automatically connects to the home’s security system, enabling the driver to view the video images of home-installed security cameras as well as its own environment to make sure no intruders are around. And once the occupants left the vehicle, the autopilot of course drives the car to its garage.


The demo vehicle shown at re:publica has been created by Bosch along with prototype development company EDAG. And according to the conferenc’e ambitions, the outer skin consists of lightweight design components – of course out of the 3D printer.


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