Bosch’s New Sensor Snitches on Carshare Drivers Who Don’t Report Accidents

Bosch’s New Sensor Snitches on Carshare Drivers Who Don’t Report Accidents

Carsharing services give residents of big cities the benefits of occasional car use without the downsides of paying for parking and maintenance. But no one wants to climb into a vehicle that smells like a pack of cigarettes, so Bosch has created a new AI-powered sensor that allows carshare fleet operators to know when a driver has been misbehaving and a vehicle needs some TLC.

There was a time when renting a car meant heading down to the local Hertz or Alamo lot to pick out and drive off with a vehicle. But with ubiquitous technologies like smartphones and GPS now available to almost everyone, carshare services have streamlined car rentals allowing vehicles to be selected and secured through an app, and they don’t necessarily have to be picked up or returned at a central location. One of the downsides to this approach, however, is that vehicles aren’t necessarily being cleaned and inspected between rentals, leaving some customers potentially climbing into a vehicle that’s less than inviting, and one that might not actually be safe to drive.

Bosch’s solution to the problem is a new service called Ridecare that’s centred around a sensor box that’s permanently installed on the inner windshield close to where a rear-view mirror is mounted and is constantly on the lookout for two unwanted occurrences. Inside the vehicle, it serves as a basic smoke detector letting the owners or operators of the carshare fleet know when a vehicle may need to be cleaned to get rid of the smell, but also which user was smoking and may be liable for covering a cleaning bill if they were breaking the service’s terms of service.

The new Ridecare sensor can also intelligently detect when a vehicle has been damaged using driving data collected from the car and information about the road conditions. The data then gets processed by artificial intelligence in the cloud to assess the potential severity of the incident.

Bosch claims the AI’s analysis can accurately determine where damage has occurred on the vehicle, how severe it may be, and whether it was the fault of the driver or another vehicle on the road. This allows the carshare operator to address issues that have the potential to become even worse should the vehicle continue to be driven before repairs are made. As with smoking, the accident detection also provides carshare operators with evidence about who’s to blame, should they decide to pass the costs of a pricy repair on to the person who was responsible.