Bosch Tech Day 2024 makes technology “Invented for life” available

June 21, 2024 | 10:31
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Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, on June 19 announced that by the end of the decade, the company wants to generate sales running into the billions from software.

“At Bosch, programming is the name of the game: the supplier of technology and services is expanding its business with software and services. For quite some time now, Bosch has also been a software company,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of the Bosch board of management, at the Bosch Tech Day 2024 held on June 19 in Renningen (Germany).

Bosch Tech Day 2024 makes technology “Invented for life” available
Bosch wants to generate sales running into the billions from software by the end of the decade.

“Across the company, our extensive domain expertise allows us to put lines of code directly into products. The software in our products is technology that is ‘invented for life,’ improving our customers’ lives,” Hartung added.

Bosch software is already to be found in many areas, including the production lines of major industrial enterprises, many car repair shops, and medical equipment.

It alerts drivers to cars on the wrong side of the road, protects valuable assets, controls building technology, and has worked in outer space, on the ISS.

All in all, 48,000 associates work as software programmers at Bosch, 42,000 of them in the mobility business sector alone.

“The triumphant march of software will fundamentally revolutionise the automotive industry,” Hartung said.

“In the future, cars will be seamlessly integrated into the digital world. As a result, they will be one thing more than anything else – updateable,” added Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Bosch and chairman of the mobility business sector.

Cars will then get new functions not by visiting a repair shop, but via a convenient software update “over the air”.

“Bosch technology will mean that cars grow older more slowly,” added Heyn.

Trucks, motorbikes, and e-bikes will also get new safety and convenience functions via an update. Since the debut of the smart system for e-bikes at the end of 2021, Bosch has rolled out roughly 70 new features and modifications via the eBike Flow app – from an alarm and tracking feature to new riding modes.

Software and digital services have now become mainstays of business success at Bosch – they are the driving force and enabler of innovation across company and industry boundaries.

With its broad domain knowledge and expertise in mobility, manufacturing, and building technology, Bosch is a sought-after partner for the companies that traditionally lead the IT field.

To exploit the huge potential of software and AI, we need partnerships of equals. Barely any company can manage this on its own. In this context, open-source software offers an especially useful way of pooling expertise across company boundaries, of saving costs, and of creating standardised solutions.

Policymakers can also play an important part in the field of AI, which is becoming increasingly important for software development, companies need planning certainty. That also goes for the AI Act recently passed by the European Union.

“The EU must now rapidly translate the AI Act into standards, for while regulation is necessary, it must not unnecessarily throttle the pace of technology or even prevent innovation,” Hartung continued.

In the automotive industry, the new trend has a name: software-defined vehicle. Software is increasingly becoming the starting point for designing and developing new vehicle models.

A recent McKinsey study estimates that the global market for automotive software and electronics will reach $462 billion by 2030.

From 2023, the share of software in vehicles will triple. Bosch wants to be part of this growth market and to remain the go-to partner for automakers worldwide. “We’re standing at the dawn of the age of the software-defined vehicle,” Heyn said.

“For Bosch, that’s good news, because we can do both: hardware and software. We are one of the few companies that are fully proficient in the interplay of automotive electronics and the cloud,” he added.

With software and service solutions such as Vehicle Health, for example, Bosch helps fleet operators avoid vehicle breakdowns and increase efficiency.

And specifically for logistics companies, the Bosch L.OS digital platform facilitates digitalisation and simplifies the entire chain of operations.

In addition, Bosch has developed special software that allows cars to come to an ultra-smooth halt, completely jolt-free, as though a professional chauffeur were at the wheel.

With this Bosch “eBrake to Zero” function, not only is braking in stop-and go-traffic more pleasant and relaxed, but the risk of travel sickness among occupants can also be reduced.

“We can ensure jolt-free stop-and-go driving with software that brakes as smoothly as a professional chauffeur,” Heyn said.

Software-defined mobility will also go hand in hand with a changing vehicle architecture: away from a domain-specific IT and electronics architecture to one that is centralised and cross-domain, with just a few computers and sensors that are nonetheless very powerful.

At present, there are roughly one hundred control units from various manufacturers at work in one car.

In a future software-defined vehicle, control functions will be performed by less than one dozen vehicle computers.

To achieve this, domain-specific functions will have to be combined in modern vehicle computers. In this context, Bosch and Qualcomm jointly presented a new vehicle computer at the start of the year.

For the first time, it combines infotainment and driver assistance functions. For automakers, this not only means a reduction in installation space, cables, and weight, but also and more importantly lower costs. In the control units alone, the saving gained by merging infotainment and driver assistance can be as high as 30 per cent. With advanced vehicle computers in general, Bosch is already on the path to success: over the past three years, the company has generated sales of just under 4 billion euros with them.

But whether they number one hundred or one dozen, the diverse computers and software packages in a car have to be networked with each other so that they can communicate across brand boundaries.

The Bosch subsidiary ETAS supplies the middleware for this, the translation software between the vehicle’s physical components and its application software, even if they are made by different suppliers.

Just as there is barely any car today that does not feature a Bosch part, in the future there won’t be any cars on the road that do not feature lines of Bosch code.

Bosch Tech Day 2024 makes technology “Invented for life” available
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