Bosch's new braking system looks for cyclists even in fog

Most consumers may know Bosch for things like washing machines and power tools, but the company started more than 100 years ago building magnetos for some of the first automobiles. The company's mobility division is massive and working on all sorts of neat things, including active safety and autonomous driving. One new part of its active safety technology is automatic emergency braking with cyclist detection, a step forward beyond pedestrian detection.

I was allowed to test the system last month in Germany. At the time, some of the final numbers weren't available. Still, I got a good sense of how well it works. Check out the video below to see it in action. We were traveling along at 40 kph, or about 25 mph, before the system intervened. The car came to an immediate and abrupt halt in time to avoid the faux bicycle. Once the obstacle had passed, the car continued driving. Bosch says its iBooster system can react in just 160 milliseconds, just longer than it takes to blink. Radar allows the system to work in fog.

Testing the cyclist detection on the automatic braking system. #BoschME #bicycle #cycling #activesafety

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While it may not work at high speeds, cyclist detection functions well when navigating city streets and parking lots. Bosch is trying to protect cyclists who may come out from behind parked vehicles or from distracted drivers looking for a parking spot. One fourth of all personal injury accidents in Germany involve a bicycle. Roughly two thirds of those accidents involve a car. Many cars already have a form of pedestrian detection, but Bosch's focus on cyclists is a step forward for emergency braking systems.

In addition to the emergency braking system, Bosch's radar detection can scan for cyclists traveling up from behind the car. Often, drivers don't see a cyclist and open their car door right in the path of the bike. The system works for all car doors and has a radius of 20 meters.

The cars we tested in Germany were both Volkswagens, but look for the system in a variety of vehicles in the future.

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