Car emergency braking

Your car already has a load of computing power | Source: Newsroom / Bosch

How automakers are transitioning you to autonomous cars

YOUR CAR is way more intelligent than the one your father used to drive.

It’s already got a bunch of sensors and computers that keep it running smoothly, help the car adapt to your driving style, and improve fuel efficiency.

More often than not, onboard computers and sensors can also help you park your car, keep it in the right lane, and even sense if you’re drowsy and need to pull over for a cup of coffee or a nap.

Whether you’re in Asia, America, or Europe, your car comes with some standard driver assistance systems.

Whether you drive a Mercedes, a BMW, Audi, Volkswagen, or even a Subaru, the driver’s console will give you access to quite a few tech-toys to make your ride more comfortable and effortless.

According to a recent survey by Bosch, people are placing more and more value on having electronic assistants on board.

Although the multinational engineering and electronics giant’s study was limited to Germany as a representation of Europe, the results show a trend in how automakers are preparing new-age drivers onto driverless cars and autonomous vehicles.

Here are some indicative results from Bosch’s study that support the trend:

Parking assistance systems: Sixty-two percent of new passenger cars registered in Germany in 2016 were equipped with some kind of parking assistance system – ranging from parking beepers to automatic parking assistants.

Automatic emergency braking systems: More than one in every three new cars registered in 2016 (38 percent) is fitted with such a system and is able to help drivers avoid accidents. For more than a quarter of these vehicles, the system is a standard fitting.

Driver drowsiness detection: Fitted in 37 percent of all new passenger cars in 2016.

Lane assist systems: Compared with the previous year, there were twice as many of these onboard new cars in 2016.

Adaptive cruise control: Although barely fitted in four percent of newly registered cars in Germany in 2013, in 2016, this function was installed in nearly one in five new cars (19 percent).

Based on these findings, Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, Bosch Board of Management Member observed:

There is a clear trend: it will soon be just as natural to have cars fitted with driver assistance systems as it is with a radio and ESP

Driver assistance systems help drivers in confusing or critical traffic situations and are an important step on the way to accident-free and stress-free mobility.

According to Bosch’s predictions, if all vehicles in Germany had an automatic emergency braking system on board, up to 72 percent of all rear-end collisions resulting in injury could be prevented.

At the moment, technical development is increasingly heading toward automated driving.

The Bosch analysis shows that, with traffic jam assist, the first partially automated function has now also arrived on the market.

In a traffic jam, the car automatically follows the vehicle in front, assuming the tasks of starting and accelerating as well as braking and steering within its own lane.

Of the new cars in Germany that are equipped with adaptive cruise control, almost half are also fitted with a traffic jam assist function, which is nine percent of all newly registered passenger cars.

traffic jam

The Bosch analysis shows that, with traffic jam assist, the first partially automated function has now also arrived on the market. Source: Shutterstock

Obviously, the broader trends hold true for other parts of the world as well.

By May 2018, for example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) of the US, will make it mandatory for all vehicles to have a rearview video system pre-installed. An Autotrader study in the US also found that 48 percent of car buyers prioritized in-vehicle technology over brand or body style.

In fact, a report by Mordor Intelligence points out that the advanced driver assistance systems market was valued at US$22.69 billion in 2015 and is projected to reach US$78.19 billion by 2020, at a CAGR of over 28 percent during 2017-2022 (the forecast period).

Assisted driving, without question, is paving the way for autonomous vehicles – and in all likelihood, it’s going to make roads safer and better for everyone.