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Bosch boosts self-driving car development

By Philip Smith

Three-dimensional sensor brings driverless autos a step closer to commercial viability

German automotive supplier Bosch has developed a sensor that creates a three-dimensional view of the road. The move could speed up the commercial viability of self-driving cars.

The lidar sensor will be unveiled at the business technology show CES 2020, which opens in Las Vegas on Tuesday, January 7.

The technology is not unique to Bosch and many firms are working on lidar systems but they are not viable for mass development.

The sector sees the involvement of the world’s largest auto parts provider as key to making lidar commercially viable.

Bosch says it is working on making the sensors "production-ready" and the focus will be on "affordable mass-market" technology.

Lidar technology uses light-based sensors to generate a 3-D image of the road, allowing self-driving cars to detect the distance to other road users, including pedestrians. The Bosch sensor will cover both long and close ranges on highways and in the city and will work in conjunction with the firm’s camera and radar technologies.

Meanwhile Honda is set to launch a partial self-driving car in Japan this summer. The Legend will have an autonomy system that allows a vehicle to control itself for extended periods. According to a report the car will sell for 10m yen (£69,655, $91,923, €82,126), compared to 7.2m yen for the current standard model.

FURTHER READING: Setback for Alphabet self-driving car project Waymo

FURTHER READING: Volkswagen to ramp up driverless vehicle research

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