Mobility Solutions

Electronic transmission control 50 years of automatics: how Bosch taught the car to change gear itself

  • In 1965, Bosch developed the first electronic control for manual transmissions
  • Motronic made the breakthrough of automatic transmissions possible
  • Modern transmission control: high-performance computer in miniature
Fifty years ago, the first Bosch prototype featuring electronic transmission control made its maiden journey. The gearshift of the Glas 1700 – a modern mid-range sedan – moved as if by magic. The engineers used the car as a test vehicle for a completely new type of system. Their hope was that electronic control for manual transmissions would relieve drivers of the need to depress the clutch and shift gears by hand. The technology was developed under the leadership of the young engineer Hermann Scholl, who is now the honorary chairman of the Bosch Group. It was designed to be an affordable alternative to expensive automatic transmissions, which back then were offered almost exclusively in luxury sedans. Several hundred systems were manufactured for the Glas 1700 in 1965. “However, electronic transmission control technology was ahead of its time. The market wasn’t ready for it,” Hermann Scholl says. In addition, it was during this time that the family-owned company Glas was acquired by the automaker BMW, and BMW was not interested in using the new technology in its cars.

Motronic created the basis for automatic transmissions
It was not until years later, in 1979, that another Bosch invention was to be the trigger for the mass success of the self-shifting transmission. With Motronic – a combination of electronic fuel injection and ignition – Bosch had installed a freely programmable microprocessor in cars for the first time. But there was more to it than that. In combination with its separate memory, it was the first ever instance of a computer being used in a car. “Motronic provided a second chance for the transmission control system – though this time for automatic, not manual, transmissions. In combination with the engine management system, it ensured the ideal automatic gear change,” Hermann Scholl says. It was only as a result of combining the two systems – electronic transmission control and engine management – that automatic gear change became far easier. When manually shifting gear, the driver also uses the gas pedal to control the engine. Similarly, the transmission control system sends commands to the engine. The engine management system interprets these commands and carries them out. In 1983, this transmission control system was installed for the first time in the BMW 745i – together with the 4HP22 automatic transmission made by ZF AG, based in
Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Modern transmission control: high-tech computer in miniature
At the time, the technology was still quite exclusive, but over the course of the following two decades, it became standard in all cars with automatic transmissions. It also anticipated a major trend. The electronic transmission control, which synchronizes gear shifts with injection and ignition parameters, is, in the best sense, a connected system designed to provide optimum driving performance, comfort, fuel consumption, and emissions. “The transmission control system selects gears in such a way that the engine is almost always in the ideal operating range. To make sure it stays that way, modern transmissions are equipped with a great deal of digital intelligence,” Hermann Scholl says. The control unit is a high-tech miniature computer that enables the complex operation of different types of automatic transmissions. Indeed, the processing capacity of a modern transmission control unit is 160 times more powerful than that of the computer used for the first lunar flight.

Coasting and connectivity: the future of automatic transmissions
Today, half of all new vehicles in the world are equipped with an automatic transmission, and all the signs point toward greater connectivity. At Bosch, proof of this takes the form of the electronic horizon, which connects the transmission with up-to-the-minute navigation information. Navigation systems know the area and can transmit this data to the automatic transmission, which, in turn, can shift into neutral during coasting and use the residual momentum – for example, when it knows that a lower speed limit is in force beyond the next bend. This “smarter” automatic transmission combined with an electronic horizon can provide additional fuel savings of ten percent or more.

Contact person for press inquiries:
Florian Flaig,
phone: +49 711 811-6282
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  • June 16, 2015
  • Press releases
  • Mobility Solutions
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Bosch at 24 Hours of Le Mans 24 teams relying on Bosch technology

  • Almost half of the cars at Le Mans feature Bosch technology
  • For the last 15 years, all the winning cars at Le Mans have relied on Bosch injection technology
  • Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Porsche 919 Hybrid, Ferrari 458 Italia, Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, and other cars all feature Bosch technology
Bosch technology will be on board 24 of the 56 cars at the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans endurance race as they compete for victory, fame, and honor from June 13-14, 2015.
In the top category of the legendary race on the Circuit de la Sarthe, where drivers race in Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) cars, Bosch injection technology has made it onto the winner’s podium every year since 2000. From 2007 to 2014, the race was won overall by diesel and diesel hybrid vehicles eight times in a row. Cars with Bosch diesel and gasoline direct injection won at Le Mans between 2000 and 2006. Other highly complex racing technology for the racing cars in the 24 Hours of Le Mans that Bosch either develops from scratch or adapts for motor racing from large-scale automotive production includes engine control units, displays, safety systems, and sensors.

Audi R18 e-tron quattro (LMP1):
Bosch is development partner for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro and supplies both the injection technology and core components of the electric powertrain. “For this racing car, Bosch and Audi combine the benefits of diesel with the power of an additional electric powertrain,” says Uwe Gackstatter, president of Bosch’s Diesel Systems division. “With high torque, efficient combustion, and low fuel consumption, the modern clean diesel is benefiting drivers in everyday road traffic, too.” In 2014, just under half of all newly registered cars in Germany had a diesel engine. Diesel technology has a central role in achieving future fleet CO2 targets. In refining diesel technology, Bosch relies on a systems approach covering clean combustion, optimized exhaust-gas recirculation, and exhaust-gas treatment to further reduce nitrogen oxides and emissions. Bosch is not only combining it with electrification but also applying its extensive know-how to refine both powertrains and ensure an efficient interplay between them.

Bosch supplies the following technology for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro:
  • Common-rail injection system, comprising a high-pressure pump, injectors, and high-pressure rail
  • Motor-generator unit (MGU): developed by Audi Sport in cooperation with Bosch for the R18 e-tron quattro. Fitted on the front axle, the MGU uses its integrated power electronics to feed energy recovered during braking into a storage flywheel. During acceleration, the MGU drives the racing car’s front axle using an electric motor, which was newly developed for the 2015 season and delivers around 200 kW (272 PS) of power.
  • Engine control unit and vehicle data acquisition system, starter, and generator
  • Power assisted rack and pinion steering: developed by Audi Sport in cooperation with Bosch Motorsport and Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH.
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R (LM GTE-Pro):
Chevrolet Corvette C7.R racing cars use multiple systems and components from Bosch Motorsport including engine control unit, telemetry system for transmitting vehicle data between the car on the track and the team in the pit, and freely programmable, high-resolution driver display. For more safety the C7.R vehicles are equipped with a collision warning system (CAS-M). The system developed by Bosch Motorsport and Corvette Racing helps the drivers to avoid accidents, particularly during endurance races. In these races one major hazard is posed by the speed differential between vehicle classes whenever high-speed prototype cars come to lap GTE cars based on series production models. The system is based on a third-generation long-range radar sensor (LRR3) fitted to the rear of the vehicle. The LRR3 permanently monitors the space up to 250 meters behind the vehicle and can detect up to 32 objects simultaneously along with their distance from and speed relative to the vehicle. The system combines this data with a video camera, feeding drivers real-time images on a cockpit display. As a result, they have all kinds of useful information directly in their field of vision, such as how many cars are behind them, how fast they are approaching, and on what side the faster prototype vehicles are trying to overtake.

Porsche 911 RSR and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (LM-GTE Pro and LM-GTE Am):
The Porsche 911 RSR and Porsche 911 GT3 RSR models will be competing at Le Mans equipped with Bosch engine control units, data loggers, starters, and a variety of sensors for variables such as pressure and temperature.

Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 (LM-GTE Pro and LM-GTE Am):
The Ferrari 458 Italia racing cars competing at Le Mans feature Bosch gasoline direct injection technology that has been optimized for motor racing, consisting of an engine control unit, power stage unit, high-pressure injectors, and a high-pressure pump. In addition, the freely programmable DDU 8 display shows the driver important vehicle data on up to 12 display pages during the race.
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  • June 11, 2015
  • Press releases
  • Mobility Solutions
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Strengthening future viability Bosch plans to realign Starter Motors and Generators division

  • Quest for joint venture partner or buyer
  • Opening up additional growth potential
  • Further expanding international presence
Stuttgart – The Bosch Group plans to seek a partner for a joint venture or a buyer for its Starter Motors and Generators division. The company is convinced that this can further improve the division’s growth prospects in a market characterized by tough competition and cost pressure.

The division develops and manufactures starters and alternators for passenger cars and commercial vehicles which help reduce fuel consumption, for example as part of the start-stop system. It employs around 6,500 associates at 13 manufacturing sites and multiple sales locations worldwide.

“The Starter Motors and Generators division has successfully managed to transform itself over the past few years and is posting positive results. The division is well positioned internationally, and has technically and commercially competitive products that are very well received by our customers,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, the Bosch board of management member responsible for the Mobility Solutions business sector. “Nonetheless, in a market characterized by tough competition and cost pressure, the division has better growth prospects together with a partner or buyer.”

Securing long-term viability
Bosch is convinced that a partner or buyer can increase the division’s competitiveness and further stimulate growth. In recent years, the division has improved its competitiveness by making its structures simpler and more flexible, among other things. A partner or buyer may give these activities an additional boost, and further expand the division’s international presence. Furthermore, this may enable the division to tap into additional growth opportunities in those regions in which it does not yet have such a broad presence. Finding a partner or buyer for the Starter Motors and Generators division will make it possible for the Bosch Group to devote more attention to other strategic areas.

With products such as the start-stop system, highly efficient generators, and motors for the boost recuperation system, the division supplies modern technology for reducing fuel consumption. Collaboration with a partner or buyer will allow this technology to be used in the best possible way to open up additional growth potential.
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  • June 09, 2015
  • Press releases
  • Mobility Solutions

Bosch and Daimler automate parking: Mercedes with built in valet

  • Bosch and Daimler start pilot project for automating parking in a car park
  • Valet parking via Smartphone
  • Bosch, Daimler and car2go agree on a development cooperation
Stuttgart – What if in the near future cars could look for their spaces in a parking garage and return all by themselves by using a smartphone app? This is the goal of a joint pilot project, started by Bosch, Daimler and car2go, when signing the contract on June 8, 2015. The existing parking process will be revolutionized: It is not the customer who parks and searches for their car; the vehicle drives to a free space independently and drives up comfortably by itself again. Automated parking is made possible thanks to an intelligent infrastructure in the car park and a vehicle control unit from Bosch in conjunction with the newest generation of Mercedes-Benz on-board sensors and the car-sharing expertise of car2go. This enables automated maneuvering in appropriately equipped parking garages in the near future.

“Our customers are always the centre of attention and all of our actions are oriented towards them. In future the car will even go to them”, explains Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “In collaboration with our partner Bosch and our mobility service car2go we are developing and testing an infrastructure-based solution for a fully automated valet parking service. For us another step on our way to autonomous driving – or as in this case: towards autonomous parking!”

“Fully automated parking will be ready for mass-production before fully automated driving”, says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, the responsible Board Member of Bosch. “Low driving speeds and the information from the car park infrastructure enable a fast implementation.”

The scenario is conceivably simple: The smartphone is used to book a vehicle via car2go. As soon as the user is ready in the pick-up-zone of the car park, the car drives up independently and the ride can begin. Returning the car is just as comfortable. The customer parks it in the drop-zone of the car park and returns the car via their smartphone. The intelligent system of the car park registers the vehicle, starts it, and directs it to an assigned parking space.

Bosch is developing the necessary infrastructure for the car park, including parking space occupancy sensors, cameras and the communication technology. Furthermore, Bosch will account for the communication unit in the vehicle, which also controls the parking process and defines together with Daimler the interface with existing vehicle components. Daimler will adjust the sensor systems and the software in the car2go vehicles and enables future innovation leaps for the car-sharing model of car2go.

Contact persons for press inquiries:
Robert Bosch GmbH
Jörn Ebberg, + 49 711 811-26223,

Daimler AG
Koert Groeneveld, + 49 711 17-92311,
Katharina Becker, + 49 711 17- 93271,

Andreas Leo, +49 711 17-63259,
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  • June 09, 2015
  • Press releases
  • Mobility Solutions
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