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Volkswagen & Bosch Are Working Together on a Standardized Autonomous Driving Software Platform for Volume Production

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【Summary】​Automotive supplier Bosch and the Volkswagen Group’s automotive software subsidiary CARIAD have agreed to form an extensive partnership to jointly develop a state-of-the-art, standardized software platform for future Volkswagen vehicles. The goal of the new partnership is to make SAE Level-2 and 3 autonomous driving capabilities for vehicles sold under the Volkswagen Group brands suitable for volume production.

FutureCar Staff    Jan 25, 2022 4:15 PM PT
Volkswagen & Bosch Are Working Together on a Standardized Autonomous Driving Software Platform for Volume Production

Automotive supplier Bosch and the Volkswagen Group's automotive software subsidiary CARIAD have agreed to form an extensive partnership to jointly develop a state-of-the-art, standardized software platform for future Volkswagen vehicles, the company's announced on Tuesday. 

The goal of the partnership is to make SAE Level-2 and 3 autonomous driving capabilities for vehicles sold under the Volkswagen Group brands suitable for volume production by building a state-of-the-art, standardized software platform for the automaker.

Bosch is one of the world's largest suppliers of technology to the auto industry. The company has 129 global locations employing some 73,000 associates in research and development, including nearly 34,000 software engineers.

The software-powered autonomous driving system will be built for urban, city and freeway driving, including a Level-3 system that requires no human supervision on highways that will be installed in VW Group vehicles by 2023. 

Volkswagen rival Mercedes-Benz recently obtained approval to offer such a system in Germany, which allows drivers to read a book or watch a movie when traveling on the highway.

The plan is that the platform will be used for all vehicles sold under Volkswagen Group brands, making it one of the world's largest deployments of vehicle software by any automaker. It will also be possible to integrate all the component parts developed by the alliance and sell or license it to other automakers. 

"Automated driving is key to the future of our industry. With our cooperation, we'll strengthen Germany's reputation for innovativeness. Bosch and CARIAD will further enhance their expertise in the development of pioneering technologies," says Dirk Hilgenberg, the CARIAD CEO. "This underscores our ambition to deliver the best possible solutions to our customers as soon as possible."

Associates from the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division and CARIAD will work together to develop partially and highly automated driving functions at various locations in Germany, including Stuttgart and Ingolstadt.  

Working in agile teams, the developers will be part of a global network. Up to 1,000 engineers could be working on the various modules required by the project at once. The two companies have already started recruiting talent to work in the alliance.

The Focus of the 2 Companies Will Be Data-Driven Software Development

The primary focus of the project's work will be data-driven software development based on information collected from a comprehensive 360-degree surround set of sensors installed on the vehicle. The two companies will create an innovative development environment for the recording, evaluation, and processing of massive amounts of data gathered from VW Group vehicles. 

The valuable data from real road traffic will be used to create a robust autonomous driving system, including creation of high-resolution maps for localization and safe navigation.

The development environment will also make use of artificial intelligence (AI) to address what's known as "edge cases", which are rare driving situations that a self-driving vehicle might encounter in the real world, which are difficult (and necessary) to solve from an engineering standpoint. 

"The best proving ground for the development of automated driving is road traffic. With the help of one of the world's biggest connected vehicle fleets, we will gain access to a huge database. This will allow us to take automated driving systems to a new level. All our customers will be able to benefit from this," says Dr. Mathias Pillin, president of Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions. "Together, we can test automated driving functions on a broader scale in actual vehicles and implement them more quickly."

Data collected from customer vehicles will also be used to create and improve the software. Volkswagen calls it a "Big Loop Process", in which it will eventually collect data from millions of vehicles. This data can be used to make software improvements, which can be pushed out to vehicles via over-the-air software updates

With a fleet of connected and autonomous vehicles, the VW Group is poised to create the largest network of connected vehicles worldwide.

The data will also be used to make higher levels of automated driving reality. The partners have agreed to examine the possibility of joint development targets and timelines on the path to create a fully-automated SAE Level 4 system that requires no human oversight.

VW is already developing a full stack solution for the automotive industry with the mission to make autonomous driving technology available to everyone. The automaker established its "Car.Software" division in 2020 for this purpose. 

Around 4,500 engineers and developers around the world are now working at CARIAD to build a uniform software platform for all brands of Volkswagen Group, which includes a unified and scalable architecture, an operating system and automotive cloud. The new software platform will first be deployed at the end of 2025.

By 2030, up to 40 million vehicles across VW's brands could be powered by the new software platform. 

In addition, CARIAD is working on digital automotive features, including ADAS systems, a standardized infotainment platform, software functions for linking powertrains, and chassis and charging technology.

The partnership with Bosch is part of VW's vision to transform into an advanced mobility company over the next decade, which includes investments in electrification, battery technology and software-based vehicles that can be updated over-the-air.

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