Bosch’s haptic collision avoidance system warns against collisions with intuitive joystick vibrations

Haptic feedback increases safety for operators, machines and the surroundings, and the system features automated emergency braking for driving applications.

Using ultrasound for surround sensing, the assistance function warns operators of excavators, wheeled loaders and other construction machinery about imminent collisions, via vibrations on the joystick. Along with the software, these include the USS ultrasound sensors with an intelligent evaluation unit, Sense+ joysticks, DI4 displays and an RC controllers.

The type and intensity of the haptic feedback provide information regarding the distance to the object. If the machine is operated with two joysticks, the system can also indicate the direction from which the object is approaching on the basis of which joystick is vibrating.

The warning reaches the driver’s hands even in noisy environments and without looking at the display.Bosch says this aids reaction time and allows the operator to maintain attention, processes made harder with purely visual or acoustic feedback, an increasingly important consideration in modern modular assistance systems.

For higher automation levels, there is also the option of automatic braking via the electro-hydraulically controlled GEMINI power brake valve from Bosch Rexroth. If the warning is not reacted to in good time, the necessary brake pressure builds up automatically.

For extra practicality, the vibration signal can be varied in terms of intensity and vibration pattern. This allows the distance to a source of danger to be estimated when approaching slowly. If the system is operated with two joysticks, it can indicate the whereabouts of the object on the basis of different vibrations. In combination with visualization on the BODAS display, the exact position can be determined.

The next generation of control units

With the concept of a processor-based robotic control unit, Bosch Rexroth gives an insight into the next generation of control hardware. In the future, it will serve as a standardized, high-performance control platform for higher levels of automation.

The need for high-performance, flexible control platforms is the result of the high computing power required for more automation. And in the future, the ability to develop, port and update software modules quickly and easily will become even more important. With a software architecture arranged in layers, the next generation of control units ensures that this is possible. They are based on Linux as the operating system and a clearly abstracted middleware layer and are compatible with the robotic operating system ROS2.

For object recognition and terrain mapping, Bosch Rexroth is working with Bosch to develop a ROS2-compatible perception stack. On this basis, Bosch Rexroth plans to offer complete function packages in the future – from sensor integration and object recognition to machine intervention. The new control platform is currently being developed. Prototypes for pilot projects will be available from the middle of 2023.