Typically, the last thing you'd want happening as the result of an automobile collision is an explosion, but in some cases, a controlled blast might make the difference between life and death.
The best example of a life-saving explosion is the result of a chemical reaction inside an air bag inflator, but Bosch has created technology to control something which may turn out to be just as critical.
The devices themselves are called pyro fuses, and as the name suggests, they're a cross between explosives and electrical fuses. Technology already exists to shut off the complex systems found in electric cars if a collision is detected, but Bosch's new technology severs the battery pack's physical connections to vehicle electronics, further reducing the risks of electric shock or fire. Pyro fuses are being utilized in hybrid and battery-electric cars, though Bosch has not confirmed exact makes and models.
The concept was actually adapted from air bag technology, Bosch says, but rather than setting off an explosion which inflates a safety cushion, these blasts drive non-conductive wedges into high voltage cables running from the battery pack, instantly stopping the flow of electricity. Since the electronics behind this system were derived from existing applications, they've been proven millions of times over, both in controlled environments and the real world.
Bosch's reach into the automotive industry is extensive and widespread. From small, application-specific circuits like this one to large, conventional components such as alternators, the supplier touched just about every part of the modern automobile in one way or another. Bosch also recently partnered with Daimler to launch a full-time automated valet system at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in the automaker's home city of Stuttgart, Germany, and is also working to develop a fully self-driving system.