As we previously reported, Bosch, an important supplier for Tesla’s Autopilot program, also likes to use Tesla vehicles for its own autonomous driving programs. The latest example is a new self-driving Model S prototype financed in part by the Victorian Government and deployed in Australia today.
It is believed to be “Australia’s first locally-developed self-driving car”.
Bosch engineers have been developing the vehicle at the German electronics giant’s Australian headquarters in Clayton, Victoria, where the vehicle was unveiled today.
Gavin Smith , President at Bosch Australia, told local press that the vehicle deployed today was the most advanced autonomous car developed by Bosch and one of five prototypes:
“This one, however, is the most advanced, incorporating some very sophisticated human machine interface, which allows the car to detect which driver is in the passenger seat and change the configuration of it to suit that driver and their preferences.”
Indeed, the human machine interface aspect of this vehicle is interesting. There are several internal cameras monitoring the driver in order to study the interaction with the level 4 autonomous vehicle. SAE considers a Level 4 as an automated system that can conduct the driving task and monitor the driving environment, and the human need not take back control, but the automated system can operate only in certain environments and under certain conditions.
As for the sensors to actually drive the vehicle, we are talking about six radars, six LIDARs, high-resolution GPS, and a stereo video camera. That’s a lot of sensors.
Smith said that the vehicle will undergo testing in Victoria for the next week and it will go through “hundreds of additional drivers or passengers” after:
“It will be on the roads over the following week, and we look forward to experiencing it with hundreds of additional drivers or passengers, so they too can understand what these cars are capable of,”
Daniel Andrews, Victoria’s Premier, shared a video of the vehicle for the launch and it looks like Bosch built its own OS on the Tesla Model S for the prototype: