Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Bosch Shows Off Haptic Touchscreen, Autonomous Features, More at CES

Bosch 2016 CES

The 2016 Consumer Electronics Show has a definite theme, and it hasn’t been terribly difficult to uncover. The automotive industry is dominating the show’s news cycle, with a host of manufacturers debuting advances in connectivity, autonomous-driving features, and increased links to “The Internet of Things.” Bosch, a foremost supplier to the automotive world, is no different, and is showing off a neat haptic-feedback touchscreen, autonomous driving tech, and enhanced cloud-to-car-to-everything protocols.

Bosch 2016 CES

First up, that haptic touchscreen. According to Bosch, the display’s haptic feedback is so good it can trick users into thinking they’re using actual hard buttons. Anyone who has stabbed their meat fists at small touch points on glowing screens while also trying to drive a car should have an idea why this technology is useful. As the company puts it, “Drivers can feel the keys on the touch screen without looking thanks to variances in the surface structures—and without immediately triggering an action. Rough, smooth, or even patterned surfaces stand for different buttons and functions.” Huzzah! Bosch is giving infotainment users their future-look cake and let them stuff their faces with it, too. The tech is comprised of two touch sensors; one is a traditional touch unit, while the other is pressure-sensitive, which allows users’ fingers to flow over the screen to “feel” a button (haptic feedback can replicate unique-feeling surfaces) without accidentally pressing it. To really push a button, a user must press or scroll more firmly on the screen.

The haptic screen won’t be Bosch’s only screen at CES. Dredging up the odd backlit concept car from German Engineering firm EDAG—which debuted at 2015’s Geneva auto show—and chopping its roof off, Bosch is using the car to display its, uh, display-crazy interior concept. Everywhere you look inside the cockpit, there are screens. Bosch says this opens up new accident-avoidance warning possibilities (warnings flash large and proud across the entire dashboard), as well as providing the necessary visual real estate for conveying increasingly dense information to the driver. Besides handling mundane collision-warning duties, the screens would also provide a window into a driver’s other smart devices, from their phone to their watch to their smart house.

Bosch 2016 CES

As Bosch puts it, the company sits in an advantageous position to exploit the “Internet of Things,” essentially the future’s interconnected devices, appliances, and cars. How so? Bosch already supplies nearly the entire auto industry with sensor technology, and it builds “smart” ovens, washers and dryers, security systems, thermostats, and more. Essentially, Bosch already has a nascent Internet of Things network in place, including a control app linking all of these things. The displays in Bosch’s concept car, then, offer a mere peek into a future where users may adjust various home settings such as temperature, security alarm status, and more from their self-driving car. As the car nears the house, the lights inside the home are lit and specific rooms are warmed.

Bosch 2016 CES

Finally, autonomous tech is on Bosch’s CES agenda—as it is for pretty much every other automotive company on hand in Vegas. The company will have a demo vehicle at the show, and will further outline its “highway pilot” semi-autonomous system, which can assume all driving duties on open highways. In the future, according to Bosch, such technology will be aided by vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, which can warn autonomous cars of traffic or a crash along their route. And because having to park a car that drives itself seems so . . . beneath humanity, Bosch also is working on a self-parking system that sees cars drive themselves into parking garages to find an open space. The timeline for these features? We’re told Bosch expects fully self-driving cars (at least highway-capable ones) by 2020; in the meantime, highway pilot–style systems (let’s call them “semi-autonomous”) that still require a driver as a backup will arrive very soon. We’d say Bosch’s news matter a smidge more than any manufacturer’s similar announcements at CES, since as a supplier to most every OEM, Bosch likely is the brains behind many of those manufacturers’ tech.

2016 Consumer Electronics Show

from Car and Driver Blog http://blog.caranddriver.com/bosch-shows-off-haptic-touchscreen-autonomous-features-more-at-ces/

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