The beginning of 2022 will see a new figure at the head of Bosch with CEO Volkmar Denner stepping down to become a scientific adviser focused on the company’s research into quantum technology. As announced during the summer, the new man in charge will be current automotive unit head Stefan Hartung.
Denner’s legacy will most likely been deemed a success having overseen a transition from industrial powerhouse to technological hub that can connect everything from car parts to refrigerators power tools to the web. It should also close a near-decade of controversy over the extent of the company’s alleged abetting role in the so-called Diesel-gate scandal.
September’s IAA Mobility 2021 in Munich, then, was a step forwards between two eras with the company promising solutions for cars, e-bikes, motorcycles, scooters, electric race cars.
Indeed, Bosch is promising to roll out mobility solutions for all types of vehicles, and is even making smartphones and people’s homes an integral part of mobility. Welcome to a new era and the sense we could be finally seeing fully realised solutions for personalised, automated, connected, and electrified mobility.
Headlining was the Bosch show car. In the future, more and more vehicles will be electrically powered. They will increasingly be connected with other road users and their surroundings, assume more and more of the driving task themselves, and provide personalised services for their occupants.
Bosch technology for automated, electrified, personalised, and connected mobility is paving the way for this future vision of mobility. The company has the systems know-how and comprehensive software and hardware expertise that this requires. For example, Bosch is developing central computers for the electronics architecture of the future. These vehicle computers are used for assisted and automated driving, controlling vehicle motion, as well as for cockpit functions and body electronics.
Driverless parking was also be a major focus and Bosch and its nine project partners will present the future of parking in a live demonstration. In the automated valet parking system developed jointly by Bosch and Mercedes-Benz, a smartphone command directs cars automatically to their assigned parking bays without the need for driver supervision. Interplay between the intelligent parking garage infrastructure and the vehicle technology makes this possible. Sensors in the parking garage monitor the driving aisle and its surroundings while guiding the vehicle. The in-car technology converts the commands from the infrastructure into safe driving maneuvers.
Bosch showcased new connected-biking solutions during the event and allowed visitors to see for themselves just how much fun power-assisted cycling can be. Riding an electrically assisted bike is good for people’s health and the environment – as well as a lot of fun (well, according to Bosch). Connected products and services enhance the cycling experience and connect e-bikers with the digital world.
Bosch wants to be a key player in climate-neutral mobility. The company has set itself the goal of making all vehicle classes ready for upcoming emissions requirements. As a self-styled innovation leader, Bosch has a broader electric driving portfolio than any other company – from e-bikes to passenger cars to heavy trucks.
From powertrains to steering systems to brakes, Bosch’s portfolio now includes all the building blocks for the electrification of passenger cars. One component is the e-axle, which combines the power electronics, electric motor, and transmission in a single unit. And with its pre-integrated system solutions for vehicle platforms, Bosch helps automakers bring electric vehicles to market faster than before.
The key is the optimised interaction of the powertrain, steering, braking, and vehicle control in the advanced driving module, which is combined with partner solutions to form a complete axle module for the front and rear axles. Alongside efficient powertrains, Bosch also uses thermal management to increase the range of electric and hybrid vehicles.
Precise control of currents of hot and cold air improves the efficiency of the battery and ensures that all components are working within their optimum temperature range. Bosch also offers drives and control units for electric two-wheelers. Integrated in a compact system, the two components ensure precise control of the motor, reliable riding performance, and optimum torque development.
Mobile fuel cells offer long ranges and short refuelling times but where they really come into their own is on long-haul routes and in commercial vehicles. With green hydrogen, fuel cells enable vehicles to be operated CO2-free. Bosch develops all the key system components to production readiness – including complete systems. For the stack, which converts hydrogen and ambient oxygen into electrical energy, the company is working with the Swedish specialist Powercell. Large-scale manufacturing of the stack is set to begin in 2022, and the launch of the complete fuel-cell system – the Bosch fuel-cell power module – is scheduled for 2023.
The company brought its array of services for electromobility to the fore at IAA Mobility including its Battery in the Cloud system which prolongs the life of electric car batteries. Smart software functions in the cloud continually analyse battery status and take appropriate action to prevent or slow cell aging.
The tamper-proof “usage certificate” documents the condition of the battery throughout its entire service life, thus giving a better picture of the battery’s residual value if the car is sold. With charging services such as Convenience Charging, Bosch wants to make it easy and straightforward for drivers of electric cars to find – and pay at – publicly accessible charging stations. In addition, the integrated recharging and navigation solution allows for a precise range forecast and route planning that includes recharging stops – and comes with the option to set personal preferences, such as charging stations next to restaurants.
Bosch is committed to becoming the leading supplier of electrified powertrain solutions, both in electromobility for production vehicles and in electrified motorsports. The company has entered into a long-term technology and development partnership with the DRAGON/PENSKE AUTOSPORT Formula E Team.
At home, its intelligent energy manager makes it possible for homeowners to reduce CO2 emissions and save energy costs. Serving as an interface between a Bosch heat pump and a photovoltaic system, it optimises the use of home-generated solar energy and distributes it intelligently throughout the building. Alongside heating and hot water, it will also be possible to integrate electric cars into the Bosch energy management system in the future. Compatible wallboxes can then be deployed to recharge vehicles using as much home-generated electricity as possible.
Less stress, smoother traffic flows, greater safety – vehicles that assume more driving tasks themselves are a key building block for tomorrow’s mobility. An automated vehicle must be able to do everything a human driver can: perceive its surroundings, make decisions, and accelerate, brake, and steer. Step by step, Bosch is laying the technical foundations for automated driving. With its driver assistance systems, it is already paving the way for all levels of automation.
Sensor technology forms the basis for assisted and increasingly automated driving. To drive safely, the vehicle must be able to reliably recognise objects, people, and other road users.
Bosch’s multi-purpose camera combines traditional image-processing algorithms with artificial intelligence (AI) methods. Using AI, the camera understands and interprets what it sees, ensuring reliable object recognition and good surround sensing. In addition to camera, radar, and ultrasonic sensors, Bosch is also developing a long-range lidar, for which it employs various sensor principles. The more complex the driving task, the more important their interaction.
Automated vehicles need to know exactly where they are at all times. Bosch offers a comprehensive package of hardware, software, and services that allows automated vehicles to precisely determine their own location. The VMPS (vehicle motion and position sensor) uses satellite navigation signals to identify the exact position, augmented by data from a correction service and information from the steering-angle and wheel-speed sensors. The Bosch road signature cloud-based map service uses data from radar and video sensors as well as vehicle motion data to create additional layers for high-resolution maps.
Better safe than sorry – this holds especially true for safety-relevant functions in automated driving, says Bosch. Thanks to multiple redundancy, its electric steering system offers additional safety. In the rare event of a malfunction, the system is still capable of retaining 50% of its electric steering functionality.
Bosch has also integrated a redundant architecture into the design of its braking systems: should either the iBooster (the electromechanical brake booster) or the ESP electronic stability program fail, the other component can brake the vehicle.
A second braking unit serves as a backup for the integrated power brake system, which combines brake boosting technology and ESP functionality.
This is an especially important requirement in automated vehicles. In addition, Bosch’s regenerative braking systems help save CO2: in a very smooth process, which is unnoticeable for the driver, they make it possible to switch between generator and friction braking, thus enabling braking energy to be converted back into electrical energy and fed back into the battery every time the vehicle is braked.
Bosch’s predictive road-condition services raise the alert in the event of potential hazards long before critical situations develop. They provide real-time information about road conditions and risks such as aquaplaning, ice, and snow. This enables automated vehicles to correctly anticipate road conditions, adapt their driving behaviour to the conditions, choose a different route, or even ask the driver to take control.
Vehicles that warn each other of danger, keep a protective eye on their occupants, and communicate with the smart home – Bosch connects systems, components, and services inside and outside the vehicle, making mobility more efficient, safer, and more relaxed:
“Users, vehicles, and surroundings are seamlessly connected, making driving more enjoyable and providing a personalised mobility experience.”
Bosch is turning cars into the command centres for smart homes and using Mercedes-Benz’s MBUX infotainment system, Bosch Smart Home applications can be controlled by voice command from the vehicle. In addition to shutters and heating thermostats, the system can also be used to control light switches and smart adapters, and to check the status of motion detectors and door/window contacts. Using voice commands allows the driver to stay focused on the road.
In the shape of Help Connect, Bosch has developed a digitally connected emergency call system for motorcycles and other vehicles. A smart crash algorithm added to the acceleration sensors in the Bosch MSC motorcycle stability control system allows accidents to be detected. A smartphone app transmits information about the accident scene and the rider to a service center, and from there to the emergency services. If the motorcycle has no permanently installed accident detection system, the sensor data from the smartphone can be used to initiate the emergency response. Bosch Help Connect can also provide assistance at home, in the gym, or when out cycling.
Bosch has developed a system comprising cameras and AI that can increase the safety of vehicle occupants. The interior monitoring system detects driver drowsiness and distraction, or if occupants are in an unsafe seating position. It warns inattentive drivers, recommends a break if they are getting tired, and can reduce vehicle speed – depending on the automaker’s wishes and legal requirements. The system also enhances convenience by automatically adjusting the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel height in line with individual preferences – as well as enabling gesture control of the infotainment system.
Bosch’s cloud-based wrong-way driver warning system warns both the wrong-way driver and all road users at risk of the impending danger within seconds – much faster than traffic news on the radio. In early 2021, ŠKODA became the first automaker worldwide to opt for Bosch’s digital guardian angel. The lifesaving warning is flashed up directly on the display in the vehicle cockpit. As an app solution for smartphones, this service already has 2.5 million active users in 20 European countries.