BOSCH DRIVERLESS: how to design a self-driving prototype

BOSCH DRIVERLESS: how to design a self-driving prototype

Bosch DRIVERLESS: Think - Episode 3

The MMR Driverless team of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia is working to create a self-driving prototype for Formula SAE, a competition in which teams of students from major international universities are called to design, develop and fine-tune single-seater racing prototypes that comply with certain regulations.

In the last episode, we talked about how sensors are necessary to perceive the surrounding environment. But if on one hand the prototype has to detect obstacles, on the other hand it also has to interpret them and act accordingly. This is one of the tasks of the Bosch Electronic Engine Control Unit (ECU), the real "brain" of the prototype. Returning to the metaphor of the human body, in fact, an autonomous driving vehicle must "think" by processing the information received, so as to plan its driving strategy.

The work of the students, in this phase, becomes almost surgical. They are called to calibrate some delicate parameters of the control unit to ensure that the prototype has no hesitation in none of the following processes: combustion, fuel supply, air management. By focusing on the system structure and the connection schemes in order to integrate the Bosch ECU with all the sensors and systems on board, students have wired the engine electronics and the whole car during a training experience in Power On, supervised by technicians and engineers of the company.

The Coronavirus pandemic, however, affects this project as well: the singleseater, in this crucial phase, necessarily has to be also designed remotely, demanding more commitment to all participants. But...the greater the struggle, the more glorious the triumph. Now it's time to take a step forward and move from the virtual to the real world: the prototype has to take shape.


To calibrate and optimize the parameters of the Bosch ECU, students used hardware modules and an INCA license provided by ETAS. Founded in 1994 as a subsidiary of Bosch Group, ETAS provides innovative and comprehensive automotive solutions and services to develop and validate embedded software.

The INCA software and the ETAS advanced fine-tuning tools offer a wide range of functions including pre-calibration of functional models on the PC, ECU flash programming, measurement data analysis, calibration data management and automatic optimization of ECU parameters. The generated calibration and measurement data can be continuously processed and assessed. INCA software is the solution chosen by 40,000 users among all OEMs worldwide. It is the most widely used tool in the automotive calibration field, about 95% of the market.

Bosch DRIVERLESS: Think - Episodio 3
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