Bosch has acquired Atlatec, provider of high-resolution digital maps for driver assistance and automated driving. The Karlsruhe-based company will become part of the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division as an independently operated company. The company, which was spun off from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in 2014, employs around 25 people in Germany, Japan, and the United States.
High-resolution digital maps play an essential part in developing automated driving functions. Atlatec offers the building blocks: data recording, processing and the creation of the maps themselves as well as the requisite quality control. In addition to onboard sensors featuring radar, video, and ultrasonic technology, digital maps are another indispensable sensor in automated driving. The information they contain relating to the vehicle’s surroundings and traffic events goes far beyond the detection range of a vehicle’s onboard sensors.
For the creation of maps, Atlatec has developed a scalable solution with its own sensor box and associated software. The raw data this solution collects is analyzed using artificial intelligence (AI) and enriched with important information such as traffic signs and the sharpness of bends, as well as structural features such as streetcar tracks. Since the AI algorithms are continuously learning, the proportion of road and environmental features detected purely by AI is constantly growing. On the basis of information from the map, an autonomously driving car can, say, adjust its speed in good time before a tight bend.
For Bosch, automated driving is a strategic area of business. With driver assistance systems and the requisite sensor technology, it laid the foundation for all automation levels at an early stage. Bosch is taking a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, with the aim of making driving safer and more relaxed, it is developing solutions for private vehicles with a focus on driver assistance and on partially and conditionally automated systems (SAE Levels 1 to 3).
On the other hand, the Bosch development team is also working on solutions for higher levels of automation, with a focus on fleet vehicles and new operating models. In the logistics sector in particular, the company sees attractive applications and huge business potential for SAE Level 4 automated driving systems. Moreover, Bosch has already developed automated valet parking, the first production-ready automated driving function not to require a driver at all.
Pictures: Atlatec GmbH