Bosch and Daimler to work together on software and algorithms that lead to driverless cars

Bosch and the car manufacturer behind Mercedes, Daimler, have announced they are joining forces “to advance the development of fully automated and driverless driving”.

The two companies are to enter into a development agreement that they say will bring fully automated driving to urban roads by “the beginning of the next decade”.

To do this the two companies will develop software and algorithms that lead to an autonomous driving system.

“The project combines the total vehicle expertise of the world’s leading premium manufacturer with the system and hardware expertise of the world’s biggest suppliers,” said the two companies in a press release.

Images courtesy of Daimler

In addition to furthering the tech that enables driverless cars, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future.

The companies have laid out their vision where cars drive autonomously around a city, and arrive at passengers when they are needed, like an autonomous taxi or valet service.

“The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the driver rather than the other way round. Within a specified area of town, customers will be able to order an automated shared car via their smartphone,” said Bosch and Daimler. “The vehicle will then make its way autonomously to the user and the onward journey can commence.”

Bosch and Daimler’s arrangement isn’t the first time an automotive company has sought to cooperate with a tech company. Previously, Toyota has teamed up with Microsoft, while Chrysler and Google have also previously announced plans to work together.

On its partnership with Microsoft, Toyota’s executive general manager of its Advanced R&D and Engineering Company, Tokuhisa Nomura said: “This is an exciting time in the industry, and we believe that to create the best, most immersive connected car experiences, automotive makers should partner with technology leaders like Microsoft.”

Toyota erects pollution-scrubbing billboard in eco campaign

Toyota has launched a campaign that will see thirty seven billboards capable of scrubbing pollution from the air erected in Los Angeles and San Francisco in order to promote their eco-vehicle, the Mirai. From April 3rd to May 28th, Californians will be able to enjoy cleaner air while having the vehicle advertised to them.

The campaign is mirroring the central idea of the Mirai itself, a car that emits nothing but water vapour. Working in co-ordination with Clear Channel Outdoor Americas, the new billboards will create 24,960 square feet of pollution-scrubbing surface and reverse the equivalent of 5,285 vehicles worth of nitrogen dioxide (NOx) emissions per month.

“Toyota consistently searches for new environmental technologies across all operations.  When Clear Channel Outdoor Americas brought us the opportunity, we saw it as a perfect match,” said Mark Angelacos, advanced technology general manager, Toyota Motor North America. “This new campaign delivers Toyota Mirai’s ‘vehicle of change’ message on a medium that lives up to that promise.”

Image courtesy of Toyota

The billboards operate in a fashion somewhat similar to the catalytic converter you can find in a car, using a titanium dioxide coated vinyl to purify the surrounding air.

When oxygen comes into contact, and reacts with, the energized titanium dioxide catalyst, any NOx present is converted into nitrate and removed from the air.

Moreover, the billboards don’t require any special maintenance to keep doing their job. Light-activated, they will continue to reduce the amount of smog in the air as long there is a presence of light, humidity, airflow and the titanium dioxide coating.

Aside from possibly appealing to a certain kind of consumer found in the tech centre of the United States, California is an important target for eco campaigns such as these. Los Angeles in particular stands out given that the American Lung Association’s State of the Air 2016 report found that the city remains America’s leader in harmful ozone pollution from car tailpipe emissions.

The city has improved – the same report saw it reaching its best overall air quality in the years measured – but is part of a state-wide issue that sees eight out of ten Californians living in counties with unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution at some point during the year.

Nitrogen dioxide specifically is a core part of acid rain and smog and even on its own has been shown to cause acute health effects, with long term exposure posing a risk to lung function and all the various respiratory issues that can arise from decreased function.

PURETi Group developed the titanium dioxide coating technology used on the eco-billboards, and Clear Channel Outdoor Americas has exclusive usage rights in the outdoor advertising category.  Hopefully, the technology can be put to more use than just advertising, and can serve as part of broader efforts to counter air pollution.