Nº 4 2013 > Laureates of the World Telecommunication and Information Society Award
Volkmar Denner, Chairman, Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH
Delivering innovative solutions for safer driving
Accepting the ITU World Telecommunication and Information Society Award 2013, Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH, paid tribute to the more than 5000 Bosch engineers throughout the world working in the field of traffic safety and driver assistance.
Noting that a lot had already been achieved, he gave the example of Germany, where the number of fatalities caused by traffic accidents had declined from 15 000 in 1980 to less than 4000 in 2012. Improved crash behaviour of vehicles has certainly contributed to this reduction, the more rigid bodywork in particular. Just as certainly, lives have been saved by active and passive safety systems. International studies demonstrate that at least 40 per cent of all fatal traffic accidents are caused by skidding. Electronic stability control could prevent up to 80 per cent of all skidding accidents. Bosch developed the ESP® electronic stability programme and was the first company to put it on the market in 1995. Since then, Bosch has delivered more than 75 million ESP® systems. Today, every second vehicle sold worldwide is equipped with such a system.
Unfortunately however, the worldwide road fatality rate is still rising year by year. “Every life lost is one too many, and Bosch’s strategic imperative is ‘Invented for life’. All over the world — and this includes the emerging markets in particular — our focus is on systems for environmental protection, energy efficiency, and safety. At the end of the day, our automotive technology engineers are not only working for Bosch and its customers. After all, the two main objectives of their development work — making cars safer and more eco-friendly — are clearly also for the good of society. Reducing the number of road deaths is urgent. We are providing technical solutions for a number of political programmes, whether devised by the European Union, emerging countries, or the United Nations,” said Mr Denner.
More powerful safety and driver assistance systems, especially predictive safety systems, are the next technological steps to further improving road safety, according to Mr Denner. Bosch already has a predictive emergency braking system in the market that reacts to preceding cars. The system is based on the company’s 77 GHz sensors and works with a cascade of increasing system reaction. First it warns the driver that a crash is imminent. If the driver reacts, it supports the driver by adjusting the brake pressure so that the vehicle stops in front of the target. If the driver does not react, automated braking minimizes collision impact. In a similar way, Bosch plans to bring an automated braking system to the market in 2014 that will protect pedestrians and further help to save lives on our streets.
All these systems depend on information technology. “This is one of the many areas where ITU plays a crucial role for road safety,” said Mr Denner, giving the example of predictive safety systems, which rely on high-resolution vehicular radar in order to detect obstacles, pedestrians and other vehicles.
“The allocation of harmonized, globally available frequency ranges for automotive radar applications is essential. For obvious reasons, emergency braking systems must not be disturbed by radio-frequency devices operating in the same frequency range. Imagine an emergency braking system being deactivated in a critical situation because of interference caused by, for instance, traffic infrastructure or intrusion detection systems,” he explained. In order to avoid this, he considered that the frequency range of 76–81 GHz needs to be allocated for automotive safety-related applications on a primary basis. This important topic is on the agenda of ITU’s World Radiocommunication Conference in 2015 and is one of the many areas where Bosch is active as an ITU Sector Member.
Volkmar Denner is Chairman of the Board of Management of Robert Bosch GmbH. He is also chief technical officer, and has corporate responsibility for research and advance engineering, engineering coordination, corporate strategy and corporate communications. His responsibilities also include the Bosch Software Innovations and Healthcare Telemedicine units.
Mr Denner received his undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Stuttgart in 1981. After a period spent conducting research in the United States, he was awarded a PhD in physics by the University of Stuttgart in 1985.
About Robert Bosch GmbH
Robert Bosch GmbH was among the first signatories of the European Road Safety Charter. Founded in 1886, Bosch is a multinational engineering and electronics company headquartered near Stuttgart, Germany. It is one of the leading suppliers of automotive components, including fuel-injection systems for internal combustion engines. Bosch is also responsible for pioneering innovations in the areas of vehicle safety systems, in-car information and communication systems, as well as driver-assistance and other guidance functions.
For more than 30 years, active safety systems developed by Bosch have significantly contributed to reducing the number of road crashes. The company’s innovations include the antilock braking system (ABS), traction control system (TCS), and electronic stability programme (ESP®), all of which intervene before a crash occurs.