Bosch Establishes Division for Connected Mobility Services
BERLIN, Germany – Bosch wants to transform into a provider of mobility services. For reaching that objective the (automotive and bike) components manufacturer has founded a new Connected Mobility Solutions division at which a staff of over 600 associates are to develop and sell digital mobility services including vehicle sharing, ridesharing, and connectivity-based services.
“Connectivity will fundamentally change how we get from A to B, and in the process it will help to solve today’s traffic problems. We are using it to realize our vision of emissions-free, stressfree, and accident-free mobility,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch management board at the Bosch ConnectedWorld 2018 IoT conference in Berlin which was held last week.
140 billion euro market
According to Bosch connectivity offers tremendous business potential as by 2025 there will be more than 470 million connected vehicles on the world’s roads (source: PwC). Just four years from now, the market for mobility services and associated digital services will be worth 140 billion euro (source: PwC). “Connected driving is a growth area for Bosch. Bosch aims for significant double digit growth with the solutions it offers,” Denner said.
The plan for the new division of Bosch is to further extend the existing service portfolio. For instance, mobility services are to send alerts about wrong-way drivers and turn smartphones into car keys. The latest of these is the ridesharing service offered by U.S. startup Splitting Fares Inc. (SPLT).
685 million ridesharing users
One growth market in the field of connected mobility is ridesharing, which encompasses online services and apps for carpools as well as for arranging driving services and taxis. By 2022, the number of ridesharing users worldwide is set to rise by 60% to 685 million (source: Statista). To date, most such services have been directed at people who happen to be traveling in the same direction or who want to book a trip at the last minute; companies and commuters have been seen as less of a priority. This is precisely where SPLT comes in. Recently acquired by Bosch, this U.S. start-up developed a platform that companies, universities, or municipal authorities can use to arrange ridesharing for their staff. This B2B approach is aimed directly at commuters: the SPLT app brings together people who want to share a ride to the same workplace or place of study.
One advantage of this is that rides are shared by colleagues, which means users never have to get in the car with complete strangers. Within seconds, an algorithm locates a suitable rideshare, calculates the fastest route through traffic, and thus assumes what used to be the time-consuming task of coordinating the departure point, departure time, best route, and passengers.
Companies can also play a role in reducing traffic volume. “Connectivity is a way for us to rethink not just the car but the whole way we use modes of transport,” Denner said.
Digital services for electric vehicles
Bosch subsidiary COUP has provided e-scooters for rent in Berlin since 2016. After introducing e-scooter sharing to Paris last year, the service will launch in Madrid this year. This will bring the total number of e-scooters to 3,500. “Digital services will give electric driving a boost,” Denner said.
At the IoT conference, the Bosch CEO presented system!e, a comprehensive system of connected electrified powertrain components and new service solutions for e-vehicles. To this end, Bosch has connected the electric drive to the Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite.
The company is developing web-based services that rely on this interaction. In the future, intelligent electric cars and e-bikes will know precisely when their power will run out, but also where they can find their next charge. It’s to eliminate range anxiety. Because the electric drive is connected to the cloud, the system can produce an “extended range forecast.” An algorithm factors in vehicle data such as current battery charge, energy consumption and the driver’s driving style, as well as information from the vehicle’s surroundings. This includes the current traffic situation and topographical data for the route ahead. Based on this information, the system can reliably calculate the vehicle’s precise range. For longer journeys in an electric car, the extended range forecast is supplemented by the “charging assistant.”
This service knows where all the charge spots are on a given journey, say from Munich to Hamburg, so it can plan ahead for necessary charging stops; it also manages the payment process. Thanks to additional information about for example restaurants, cafés, and shopping options, drivers can make the most of the charging time and relax.
A third service manages vehicle charging in smart homes, helping to optimize how they use energy. It integrates the electric car into the smart home’s electricity grid, meaning the car’s battery supplements the stationary storage device for the house’s photovoltaic system. During the day, the car absorbs excess solar power and feeds it back at night as necessary. “For Bosch, mobility goes beyond the car. Our breadth of technology expertise in numerous fields puts us in an unparalleled position to develop and operate cross-application ecosystems,” Denner said.