Automotive supplier Bosch is developing a new computer 'brain' for autonomous vehicles, equipping them with artificial intelligence (AI) and the capability to make decisions much quicker than a human.
The system will be in production by 2020 at the latest and will initially form the basis of driverless Robocabs being developed in conjunction with Daimler.
Bosch says the computer brain will be able to carry out 30 trillion computational operations per second, which is three times faster than a human brain.
The AI system is able to undergo a learning process as large numbers of autonomous vehicles pass experiences back to the base via the cloud. Once the data has been checked by engineers, it will be accessible by all autonomous vehicles fitted with the system, improving their ability to deal with traffic situations.
AI is crucial if autonomous cars are going to be capable of self-driving in difficult traffic conditions without outside assistance.
“The chip to power the AI computer is being developed by Nvidia, which is the world’s most advanced chip producer. The software algorithms to run on the chip will be developed in-house at Bosch,” said Gerhard Steiger, head of Bosch's automated driving division. “The electronic architecture is totally different to anything that has gone before.”
The array of radar, lidar and camera sensors produce large amounts of data. Bosch says a self-driving car can produce as much as one gigabyte of data per second. The sensors give the car a 360-degree vision and the AI system will be powerful enough to simultaneously process the data from all of them in real time.
Unlike a human, cars equipped with the system will be able to see all round at all times and will never be distracted or lose concentration, says Bosch.