Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story had an incorrect date for Scheider’s scheduled move to Mahle Gmbh.
DETROIT -- Germany's Robert Bosch GmbH -- the world's largest automotive supplier -- is preparing to roll out the technology needed to allow cars to pilot themselves and change lanes at high speeds on the autobahn.
Bosch has production contracts to supply radar, cameras, control units and other technology needed for partially autonomous driving in 2017 and 2018, said Wolf-Henning Scheider, a member of Bosch's management board.
During his presentation Wednesday at the 2015 Automotive News World Congress, Scheider described Bosch's four-stage timetable to introduce technology for autonomous driving:
- Integrated highway assist: In 2017, the vehicle would travel up to 75 mph on the highway, remaining within its lane, while the motorist keeps his eyes on the road.
- Highway assist: In 2018, the vehicle would move at high speeds on the highway, and would change lanes with the driver's approval. The motorist would keep his eyes on the road.
- Highway pilot: By 2020, the vehicle would maneuver itself on the highway while the motorist attends to other tasks, such as reading, chatting with passengers, working on his computer, etc. The motorist would be prepared to take over quickly, if necessary. If the motorist is unable to do so, the car would pull over and stop itself.
- Auto pilot: Around 2025, the vehicle would drive itself from door to door without the motorist's intervention.
Bosch has production contracts to supply components for integrated highway assist and highway assist in 2017 and 2018 for an unnamed customer, Scheider said. The technology for the last two phases -- highway pilot and auto pilot -- is not yet ready for production, he noted.
The company already supplies components for traffic jam assist, in which the vehicle drives itself at low speeds on the highway while staying within its lane.
Bosch also is working with Google to develop a small fleet of driverless cars. Scheider said the company will supply the electric motor and the long-range radar.
Scheider is leaving Bosch to join Mahle Gmbh as vice chairman on April 1. He will become chairman July 1.