Automotive

Bosch places its bets on autonomy, developing in-car hardware and fleet-level systems

Bosch places its bets on auton...
Bosch is planning to play a major role in the connected autonomous transport services of tomorrow
Bosch is planning to play a major role in the connected autonomous transport services of tomorrow
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Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: preparing to debut at CES
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Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: preparing to debut at CES
Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: focused on passenger comfort
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Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: focused on passenger comfort
Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: comfy interior with flexible infotainment screens
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Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: comfy interior with flexible infotainment screens
Bosch predicts significant fleets of self-driving electric shuttles something like these by 2025
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Bosch predicts significant fleets of self-driving electric shuttles something like these by 2025
Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: part of a highly connected vehicle ecosystem
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Bosch's autonomous shuttle concept: part of a highly connected vehicle ecosystem
Spacious, social interior can be monitored for messes and items left behind
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Spacious, social interior can be monitored for messes and items left behind
Riders' smartphones will be their unique keys to get in and out
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Riders' smartphones will be their unique keys to get in and out
Bosch is planning to play a major role in the connected autonomous transport services of tomorrow
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Bosch is planning to play a major role in the connected autonomous transport services of tomorrow
The vehicles will be one small part of a fully connected transport system
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The vehicles will be one small part of a fully connected transport system

Bosch plays a big part in the supply and technology chain behind today's cars, and it's aiming to play an even bigger part in the self-driving cars of tomorrow. The company has just laid out some of its plans for the autonomous future.

From today's ABS systems and spark plugs to tomorrow's electric powertrains, 36-degree sensor suites and onboard computers, Bosch is well positioned to be a big player in vehicle hardware moving into the future. And the company has released details of a concept it'll be showing at CES to demonstrate some of its capabilities in that area.

The concept is an electric four-seater, arranged with a spacious interior that sees the passengers all facing one another, with tablet-like infotainment screens extending from the walls that Bosch believes might end up being collaborative work tools. There's on-board Wi-Fi, as well as a concierge service that can provide weather and travel information, and make bookings.

Camera systems warn passengers if they've left a handbag or phone behind, and can tell the difference between such items and trash or spills that might indicate the vehicle needs cleaning.

Riders' smartphones will be their unique keys to get in and out
Riders' smartphones will be their unique keys to get in and out

But Bosch's ambitions are bigger than just hardware – it's also working on a dizzying array of digital systems.

"In the future, every vehicle on the road will make use of Bosch digital services," says Dr. Markus Heyn, on the board of management at Robert Bosch GmbH. Here's a peek at what's in the pipeline:

The Perfectly Keyless digital access service uses customers' smartphones as their unique keys to get in the vehicle.

  • The Convenience Charging service tracks these electric vehicles' states of charge, and combines them with weather and traffic data and information on how much power on-board systems like air-con are consuming to manage the process of deciding when and where to dip out of service for a charge-up. The system "pre-books" spaces at the most appropriate charging station so there's no double-ups.
  • Predictive road condition services let vehicles know when there might be a diesel spill or gravel patch ahead.
  • The Bosch Road Signature is effectively a more accurate version of GPS that lets autonomous vehicles know and broadcast their positions to within a few centimeters.
  • Predictive diagnostics systems keep an eye on key components in the vehicle, attempting to notify home base before a fault develops and leaves passengers stranded.

There's also an over-the-air software update system, and a connectivity platform that draws all sorts of systems together to give fleet managers and shuttle service operators, as well as vehicle manufacturers, live information about what their fleet is up to, along with information on individual vehicles. Bosch has even spun out a subsidiary called Escript to concentrate on information security for these highly connected vehicles.

The vehicles will be one small part of a fully connected transport system
The vehicles will be one small part of a fully connected transport system

Bosch is predicting large fleets of fully autonomous shuttle-style taxis will be on the road "by the middle of the next decade at the latest," and we've already spent plenty of time examining what that kind of vehicular revolution will mean to the automotive market, the transport mix as a whole and the shape of our cities in the future.

It's interesting to see a company like Bosch working effectively behind the scenes to build the components and systems that will underpin these kinds of services.

Source: Bosch

1 comment
McDesign
On concepts like this - they don't seem to integrate the whole suite of crash-protection devices of modern cars - inertia seat belts, multiple airbags; etc. What's the story - no rules yet?