In October 2016, the Intelligent Transport Systems World Congress took place in Melbourne. Companies in the field were showing off everything they've been working on in self-driving and autonomous cars and trucks and other forms of transport. Bosch has built an entirely autonomous car from Tesla's already-pretty-damn-autonomous Model S in Australia, that during the Congress looped around the part of Melbourne's Albert Park usually reserved for Formula 1 races.
Bosch says that more than 90 per cent of crashes around the world are caused by human error, and autonomous cars taking humans out of the equation could slash that number significantly. To that end, the company devoted almost 50 engineers to developing a fully autonomous vehicle at its Clayton headquarters near Melbourne.
The software and hardware suite means that the car — based on a Model S, a car that represents Bosch's belief that "the future of mobility will be connected, electrified and automated" — can do everything from assisted to fully automated driving. A human-machine interface means the car can monitor for driver distractions, the vehicle can take over to act on behalf of drivers to avoid projected dangers like road works and on-road obstacles, and inter-vehicle connectivity can protect other road users, like motorcyclists. Bosch has demonstrated inter-vehicle communication between the Tesla and a Ducati over the ITS Congress.
Bosch was helped along by a $1.2 million investment from the Victorian government, whose Transport Accident Commission is throwing money at initiatives to reduce road deaths. Bosch's works is an interesting development, given that Tesla is apparently about to unveil a 'Tesla Vision' driverless software and hardware suite in partnership with Nvidia, which has the potential to become the go-to choice in the immediate future for computer vision and autonomous features both for the American electric car startup and other major manufacturers.
The Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative recently shared its findings suggesting that Aussies want self-driving cars for when they're bored. That's why self-driving cars are a good thing even if you're an enthusiast and a certified hoon — we could all use some time away from the steering wheel.
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