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The future of cars is here – with smart solutions from Bosch
Dr. Bernd Bohr,
Chairman of the Bosch Automotive Group,
at the 61st Automotive Press Briefing in Boxberg, June 2013
- June 17, 2013
- Mobility Solutions
- Videos: 1
The automotive industry may be a mature sector, but it is the fastest changing of all mature sectors, both technically and economically. Ten years ago, I gave my very first presentation at the Automotive Press Briefing. It was entitled “Bosch and the automotive future.” My talk today is the last I will be giving at such an event. Looking back, a lot has changed over the past decade:
- China and India’s share of global vehicle production has more than tripled, from eight to 28 percent.
- Bosch sales in both countries have increased more than sevenfold, from 900 million to 7.4 billion euros.
- And in new vehicles, installation rates for our innovations have increased significantly. For instance, ten years ago 14 percent of vehicles worldwide were equipped with the ESP electronic anti-skid system. Today, the figure is 54 percent. And for gasoline direct injection, the figure has risen from 2 to 22 percent over the same period.
Growth factors: innovations and a global presence
First, allow me to give you a few facts and figures relating to our Automotive Technology business sector. In 2012, it generated sales of some 31 billion euros. For 2013, we expect to see our operating business grow between three and five percent. Following a modest start, we expect business to pick up over the course of the year. Our international presence and innovative strength will be decisive success factors here.
With a network of 50 engineering and 95 manufacturing locations worldwide, the Automotive Technology business sector is close to its customers, wherever they are in the world. At the beginning of the year, 63,000 of our 177,000 associates worked in Germany, and the remaining 114,000 were located abroad. Our research and development activities are especially international. Our R&D workforce counts 33,500 associates. Just under 19,000 of them are located in Europe, almost 2,000 are in the Americas, and Asia already counts some 12,500 associates. This global team is enabling Bosch to help shape the future of the automobile. And it is especially in powertrain and safety systems, the most dynamic areas of development, that we are market leaders and have an innovative edge.
The powertrain of the future: efficient and increasingly electrical
The first question we need to ask seems simpler than it actually is: how are we going to drive tomorrow, and how clean and safe will driving be? The question of which drive will power tomorrow’s vehicles is galvanizing the entire automotive industry, with Bosch among the leading players. However, we do not believe there is just one answer to this question: most of the cars on the world’s roads are still running on diesel and gasoline, and things will stay that way for the rest of the decade. However, slowly but surely, the number of alternatives is growing. Looking ahead to 2020, we expect to see 110 million newly registered vehicles around the world by then, 12 million of them with an electrical powertrain. This latter figure will grow gradually throughout this decade, with its growth curve becoming ever steeper in the next. We aim to develop lithium-ion batteries that will at least double the range of the electric vehicles we now have, and this at half the cost per kilowatt-hour. This is the best possible way to promote the purchase of electric vehicles.
This forecast did not come out of nowhere: it is the result of our detailed analysis of technologies and markets. Our assessment also reflects the international policy framework, especially with regard to environmental and climate protection. All over the world, ever stricter emissions and fuel-consumption standards for road traffic are being introduced. The strictest standard of all is expected in Europe in 2020: vehicle fleets will be required to achieve average CO2 emissions of 95 grams per kilometer. How can this be achieved technically? To put it in a nutshell: the larger the vehicle, the more electrification will be required. More specifically, this means:
- In the sub-compact class, gasoline and diesel powertrains will be so efficient that the emissions of these vehicles will be lower than the 2020 CO2 target, even without electrification.
- Only the diesel engine will achieve this in the compact class, but the gasoline engine will come close. In order to further reduce its CO2 emissions in this vehicle class, the gasoline engine will require a low-cost, basic hybrid solution.
- Even with optimized internal-combustion engines, large vehicles will not achieve the CO2 target. By 2020, such vehicles will need to be equipped with higher-performance hybrid systems.
- First, by 2020 we aim to further reduce the fuel consumption of diesel and gasoline engines by as much as 20 percent over 2012 levels. We will do this with a broad range of efficiency-enhancing technologies, including the turbocharging of downsized engines.
- Second, we are automating the manual transmission, for instance with the eClutch. The electric clutch shifts into neutral whenever the driver is not accelerating. This reduces fuel consumption by a good five percent.
- Third, we are enhancing our start-stop system to make it a coasting assistant. To do this, we also use the navigation function as a sensor of the outside world. The navigation system can preview upcoming speed limits and terrain, which in turn enables drivers to release the gas pedal well ahead of town limits or bends in the road. On highways, this can result in fuel savings of up to 15 percent in real driving conditions.
- Fourth, we are shaping the transition to hybrid powertrains that is so important for the mid-sized segment. Our solution is called the boost recuperation system, or BRS for short. It goes one step further than coasting, enabling regenerative braking. This results in fuel savings of up to seven percent.
- Fifth, we are making the world’s first hydraulic hybrid drive for passenger cars a reality. This solution uses a pressure accumulator to store and release braking energy. On average, this reduces fuel consumption by 30 percent, or even up to 45 percent in city driving.
- Sixth, we offer the strong hybrid systems required for larger vehicles, which reduce fuel consumption by up to 25 percent.
- And finally, our systems for the plug-in hybrid make it possible to combine purely electric city driving with conventional long-distance travel. The possibility of charging the battery at power outlets is especially practical. Of course, this power has to be paid for, but gasoline or diesel consumption can be reduced by 50 percent over the course of the driving cycle.
At the moment, electromobility is still mainly an investment in the future, to the tune of 400 million euros a year at Bosch alone. For the time being, therefore, the internal-combustion engine still forms the basis of our business. And as efforts to protect the climate are stepped up, demand for our efficiency technologies in particular is on the rise. In 2012, we delivered more than five million gasoline direct injection systems. We expect the number to rise to nine million in 2015. During the same period, the unit sales of our common-rail high-pressure diesel injection system will increase from over eight million to a good 12 million.
Around the world, our diesel systems business has recently picked up considerably. In Asia, our customers are preparing for the China4 emission standard. Meeting this new policy’s requirements calls for electronic injection systems. Along with a general recovery in the market, this will lead to an increase in orders. In North America, local carmakers are now also planning to introduce diesel vehicles. This makes a ten percent market share of diesel realistic in the light vehicle segment by 2018. And in Europe, we have further strengthened our market position thanks to several orders relating to the Euro 6 emission standard. This is also reflected in the sales of Denoxtronic, our urea-metering system for the nitrogen-oxide catalytic converter. We launched the system in 2004, and will have delivered five million units by the end of this year, and ten million by the end of 2015.
Both economically and technically, the potential of the internal-combustion engine is far from exhausted. If it is fueled by natural gas, it even offers an alternative to alternative powertrains. This could prove to be important: as recently discovered natural gas deposits in countries like the United States suggest, gas reserves will outlast oil reserves. The natural gas powertrain emits 25 percent less CO2 than the gasoline engine. Over the past decade, it has seen 25 percent annual market growth. At the moment, there are 15 million natural gas vehicles on the world’s roads. And we have an economic and technical edge in this area as well, with equipment such as the world’s smallest gas injector for automobiles. In Germany, the natural gas drive pays off as soon as annual mileage exceeds just 7,000 kilometers. Although the network of natural gas service stations must be expanded in many countries, Bosch is in an excellent position for further market growth.
The accident protection of the future: automated driving
The efforts of our engineers are not only driven by the promise of market success. They are also motivated by the social benefit of the technologies they develop. This is especially true in the area of accident protection, perhaps even more so than for climate protection. Here, the words “Invented for life” take on a literal meaning. According to the United Nations, the annual number of road deaths around the world will rise to 1.9 million by 2020, from 1.3 million today. The UN’s declared aim is to reduce this number to 0.9 million by the end of the decade. Policies for achieving this have been initiated in all the major economic regions. However, in countries such as India, a growing number of people are being killed in road accidents. Motorcycle ABS, with which we are set to begin series production in cooperation with an Indian OEM, is one of our technical responses. The system is limited to regulating the front wheel, and offers a particularly low-cost benefit in terms of safety. For high-performance motorcycles, we have developed the MSC stability control system. The system is capable of identifying the best possible level of deceleration, even when the rider is leaning into a bend, and of responding accordingly. In the car, the number one lifesaver is the ESP anti-skid system, which is also a trailblazing Bosch invention. We see such innovations as a duty. Our ambitious aim for the future: accident-free and automated driving.
To achieve this aim, we are taking many individual steps to further develop our safety and driver assistance systems. More than 5,000 Bosch engineers are working in these areas, and we are already seeing significant progress in three fields of development:
- The first of these is parking. In 2015, our enhanced parking assistant will go into series production. The system includes a remote control that helps maneuver the car in crowded garages. In the future, the car will be able to look for a space in parking houses on its own with the help of a 360-degree video sensor.
- The second field is stop-and-go technology. Next year, we are launching a traffic assistant that keeps the vehicle in its lane in congested traffic. In the future, the system will become a traffic-jam pilot with an automated lane-change function. This will enable drivers to check their e-mail in traffic jams, for instance.
- The third field of development is automated driving on the freeway. This field of development includes combining adaptive cruise control with the lane-keeping assist function, with a highway pilot as the final aim. We expect these electronic chauffeurs to be market-ready by the end of the decade.
Sensor development in particular is making progress. In 2014, Bosch will be starting series production of a stereo video camera. For the first time, one single sensor will be able to trigger automatic emergency braking for pedestrian safety – for instance when playing children suddenly run onto the street. While applications like this one can already save lives, we still have many development steps ahead of us to technically master the complexity of inner-city traffic.
It is one thing for a prototype to automatically circle the track at a test center like Boxberg. But more needs to be done before the technology can match the traffic sense of taxi drivers in situations as chaotic as inner cities. Nonetheless, Bosch is the first automotive supplier to be allowed to test highly automated driving on German roads. In our view, to make the vision of automated driving a reality, we must safely and reliably integrate upcoming functions – which rely on the interplay of sensors, actuators, and control units – into the vehicle’s overall system. We are particularly strong when it comes to systems integration, and we already have two teams working on this. Our Palo Alto team is responsible for developing functions, and our Abstatt team is in charge of systems development. The progress that needs to be made can be grouped into four fields of development:
- First, we require highly efficient methods to ensure security and reliability, including methods originally used in the aviation industry.
- Second, we require a concept for sensors that enables even more precise 3D environment recognition.
- Third, the electronics architecture must be backed up better, for instance with dual bus systems and continuous checks on the plausibility of sensor data.
- Fourth, maps of the vehicle's surroundings must be precise down to the last ten centimeters, and they must contain far more information. Moreover, they must be continuously updated, on an hourly basis or even every minute.
However, there is one thing that we must avoid: drivers themselves must not be overloaded with information. Without simple operation, there can be no automated driving. Here, too, Bosch has set the standard. We have developed a driver information system for General Motors that can be controlled by natural voice input – drivers can speak as freely as they would with other passengers in the car. Cadillac was the first to offer this system, and Chevrolet, Buick, and Opel have followed suit. In addition, we are encouraging the spread of head-up displays – with a solution that does not require specially coated windshields, for example. As a result, solutions in which navigation arrows appear directly in the driver’s field of vision will also be affordable for middle-class vehicles. By the end of the year, our solution for compact vehicles will be going into series production. In 2013, only about 500,000 newly registered vehicles around the world will be equipped with head-up displays, but we expect the figure to rise to 3.6 million by 2016. Such interfaces have the same effect as the assistance systems of the future: they make driving less of a strain.
Not just diverse: Bosch innovations complement one another
Ladies and gentlemen, all this shows that Bosch does not simply offer a broad range of solutions, but also, and more importantly, that its developments complement each other. As one last example, let me mention the iBooster. This is an electronically controlled brake booster that can operate without any vacuum from the internal-combustion engine. This means it remains active when the vehicle is coasting, and even during electric driving. And that’s not all: the iBooster builds up braking pressure three times faster than conventional pumps. In an emergency, these fractions of a second are decisive for automatic emergency braking. With this technology, we have built a bridge between the main fields of innovation: powertrain electrification and driving automation. In both fields, we are developing key innovations, and these innovations fit together like a lock and key.
Bosch and the future of the automobile: ten years ago, I gave my first presentation here in Boxberg quite a cautious title. Today, I would like to say goodbye with the following hypothesis: with value-adding innovations such as the iBooster, the future of the car has already begun. It is not something that will happen as a revolution some years from now. Rather, it is starting today thanks to smart solutions – solutions that a systems supplier like Bosch can provide by intelligently networking its broad expertise.
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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”
RF00194 - June 17, 2013