Elon Musk has been touting the ability for the Tesla Model S to drive itself for years now, and this summer the Autopilot feature is slated to roll out for all current and future Tesla owners. Musk isn’t the only one that wants to automate automobiles, and beyond the usual suspects of major automakers is Bosch, which has released a video demonstrating its own self-driving vehicle technologies using, you guess it, a Tesla Model S.
I’m pretty sure this video uses some heavy-handed CGI to demonstrate what might be possible, as opposed to what Bosch actually has working right now, but I’ve got to hand it to the German electronics giant, their ideas are pretty neat. Before you even move an inch, you can select the balance between manual and automated steering modes, letting the car take over driving while you’re on the highway.
The Bosch system lets your automated vehicle pass slower cars and handle the ins-and-outs of your daily commute while the 17-inch touchscreen turns into a workstation. When you’re done doin’ time for the man, the touchscreen can be turned into an entertainment system, playing music videos or Hollywood movies on your way to wherever. A previous Bosch self-driving car demonstrator (a Volkswagen e-Golf) involved a self-parking feature similar to the valet mode described by Elon Musk, and the relationship with VW extends to a Chargepoint charging network powered by Bosch chargers.
There’s nothing groundbreaking or game changing here, but it does demonstrate two things. One, the Tesla Model S is the go-to car for companies wanting to demonstrate something “futuristic” feeling. Two, the number of non-automakers investing in autonomous driving technology could soon outnumber carmakers themselves. Google, Apple, Delphi, and Bosch are just a few of the players that want to dominate what could become a multi-billion dollar market in a decade or so. Whoever gets to the forefront of self-driving car technology will secure their company a place in history for centuries to come.
One day, people will marvel at the audacity of human-driven automobiles, and wonder how people ever got along driving themselves sometimes for hours at a time.
The madness of it all!