Inauguration of the Renningen research campus The technician only rings once: data mining benefits Bosch and its customers “Data is the new oil of the global economy”

  • Challenge: automatically detecting the right patterns in big data
  • Research aim: better customer service and optimized production
  • Bosch approach: international team of experts uses and develops new algorithms for data analysis
Stuttgart and Renningen, Germany – A new raw material is driving the economy. But unlike steel, gold, or plastic, it is invisible and intangible. This raw material is the constantly growing stream of data from connected factories, connected cars, and connected products. Used correctly, it offers huge potential for better customer service and optimized production processes ? and thus for greater competitiveness. “The ability to generate new knowledge from big data is a key competence of the future,” the computer scientist Dr. Lothar Baum says. At the new Bosch research campus in Renningen, he heads a team of experts that are involved in the computational process of discovering patterns in large data sets, or data mining, as it is known. Among other things, Baum’s research focuses on how data mining can be used to optimize connected industry.

Cents add up to millions of euros
“Data is the new oil of the global economy,” Baum says. To give one specific example: by evaluating manufacturing data, Bosch has managed to cut the time taken to inspect hydraulic valves by 17.4 percent. Such huge savings are a major advance in modern manufacturing, and this despite the many considerable improvements that have already often been made there. With some 40,000 valves manufactured every year, this represents a saving of 14 days for the company. In this particular case, an analysis of the production data relating to 30,000 manufactured hydraulic valves showed that certain subsequent testing steps in the inspection process are unnecessary, provided the results of several earlier steps are positive. The outcome of those subsequent steps can be reliably predicted by analyzing the earlier steps. Pinpointing such correlations – which are generally much more complex than the example given here – saves time and money. “When the number of parts runs into the millions, even savings of just a few seconds can soon add up, turning a few cents into millions of euros,” Baum says. Every second and cent saved strengthens the competitiveness, and thus the attractiveness, of the products manufactured.

Bosch operates several clusters
Technically, all this is extremely sophisticated. “While the algorithms this requires have essentially been known for many decades, it has so far been impossible to gather data to the extent now made possible by the internet of things. And a lack of computing power has meant that it has not been possible to apply the algorithms to several billions of data points,” Baum says. Now, however, thanks to clusters made up of many interconnected servers, these huge computational tasks can be performed on thousands of processors working at the same time. Around the world, Bosch operates several such clusters. Humans play an essential role in this process: they have to program the computers so that they can process billions of data points efficiently and in parallel, instead of sequentially.

The technician only rings once
These capabilities are also in evidence in another example that shows the benefits of data mining. The utility company British Gas provides its customers with heating and hot water. Many of the Bosch boilers installed by British Gas are now web-enabled and transmit a wide range of data from their day-to-day operation to the utility company: When is the boiler in use and for how long? How much time does it take for the flame to light? How hot is the water? “When a boiler needs longer to ignite than it used to, analyzing this information can reveal the potential causes,” Baum says. “Now service technicians can take the appropriate replacement part with them right away when they call on a customer. They already know where the fault lies. Up to now, technicians have usually had to visit twice: once to find out what’s wrong, and a second time to make the repairs.” Data analysis thus saves British Gas money, and customers benefit from faster, better service.

34 projects with an international presence
Bosch operates hundreds of production lines at around 250 plants worldwide. Many of them are already connected to the web. Sensors on these lines transmit data, while algorithms use that information to detect potential wear and tear and provide information for timely maintenance work. This avoids unplanned downtime, increasing productivity. At its new location in Renningen, Bosch is helping its researchers and engineers communicate with each other even better than before, so that they can develop such solutions. In addition, 34 data mining-related projects have already been started. A team of 40 experts from around the world is working exclusively on such projects. In doing so, they are supporting manufacturing associates in putting such projects into practice. The data experts are based mainly in Palo Alto, California – in the heart of Silicon Valley – and in Bangalore, India. Bosch’s global alliance partners in this field include Stanford University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Advantages thanks to a transparent production process
The big data component of the Bosch IoT Suite already makes it possible to explore and evaluate large volumes of data. The IoT (internet of things) Suite is a comprehensive software solution that can be used to develop, provide, and operate IoT applications.

New jobs for new experts
As the use of data mining increases, so does Bosch’s need for qualified software experts. “Data scientists must be familiar with software and be able to write it themselves for special purposes. They must have an understanding of math, statistics, and machine learning. What’s more, they have to have detailed knowledge of the products and how they are manufactured, so that they can correctly interpret the data generated,” Baum says. This is another reason why Bosch plans to hire 12,000 university graduates this year. With software growing more important in all Bosch divisions, graduates with IT skills also have good prospects, as do engineers.

The next goal: faster service at the car workshop
Baum and his colleagues are currently working to provide a forecast stating which cars will be visiting a Bosch Car Service garage and when, and what will be wrong with them. Workshops can then prepare for the necessary repairs by ordering the required spare parts, for example. This will also allow them to optimize their inventories. “Because the spare parts are already in stock at the workshop and do not have to be ordered first, drivers will get a faster and better service. We already have the methods needed to evaluate the data. Now all we have to do is amass enough data to be able to use those methods to full effect,” Baum says.

Details of the Bosch IoT Suite:

Contact person for press inquiries:
Thilo Resenhoeft, Phone: +49 711 811-7088

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  • October 05, 2015
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Project launch Bosch joins Ko-HAF research initiative Focus on highly automated driving

  • Ko-HAF project has total funding of 36.3 million euros
  • Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to support project with nearly 17 million euros
  • Bosch to assume lead role in backend-solution work package
  • Consortium of automakers, automotive suppliers, as well as highway administration and research partners
  • Project scheduled to run until November 2018
Stuttgart, Germany – Bosch has joined forces with a number of other suppliers, automakers, and public-sector partners to launch the “cooperative highly automated driving” (Ko-HAF) research initiative, which aims to push forward the development of automated driving. The publicly funded project will tackle the challenges of highly-automated driving, in which drivers no longer need to be constantly vigilant. But for this to happen, technical precautions are necessary. “Highly automated vehicles rely on information about their surroundings – information which supplements the data collected by their own sensors,” says Dr. Dieter Rödder, head of the future mobility systems unit at Bosch's corporate research and advance engineering. Within the framework of the Ko-HAF project, Bosch has assumed primary responsibility for developing a backend solution for collecting and making available such information about a vehicle's current surroundings, including the traffic infrastructure.

On-board sensors collect traffic information
The backend solution is based on vehicles communicating wirelessly with a central server. For the duration of the project, a variety of vehicles belonging to the different project partners will collect the data generated by their on-board sensors during test drives and feed the server with information about their surroundings. Along with information on objects in the road, this also includes data on the existence and quality of lane markings. The collected information will be analyzed and consolidated on the server. An expanded digital map will then be made available for the vehicles to download. This will enable them to be informed in plenty of time about traffic hazards behind a bend or just over the crest of a hill.

In addition to the backend solution, the Ko-HAF project is also working on precise self-localization for highly automated vehicles. For instance, the vehicles must be able to identify which lane they are traveling in as well as their exact position in the lane. One of the project's other focal points is how to integrate drivers into the process. After all, highly automated driving is only possible on certain routes, such as freeways. Drivers will thus have to repeatedly assume and relinquish control of the vehicle. The project partners are exploring how and in what time-frame this will have to happen. Other areas being explored by the consortium include how a highly automated system can be made secure and tested.

At Bosch, work on highly automated driving already extends well beyond the company's new research hub in Renningen. For several years, specialists in the German city of Abstatt as well as in Palo Alto, California, have been developing the first highly automated driving functions such as the highway pilot. In this regard, they have successfully been driving a number of test vehicles on the German A81 and U.S. I280 freeways since the beginning of 2013. The real traffic data collected will be used to develop the function to the production stage.

Industrial, administrative, and research partners
The consortium behind the Ko-HAF research initiative is made up of automakers, automotive suppliers, and highway administration and research partners. With total funding of 36.3 million euros, Ko-HAF is a large and strategically important project designed to drive forward progress on one of the biggest trends in the automotive industry. The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) is supporting the project with 16.9 million euros in funding as part of its “new vehicle and systems technology” program. The Ko-HAF project is scheduled to run until November 2018.

Contact person for press inquiries: Jörn Ebberg, phone: +49 711 811-26223
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  • August 25, 2015
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Expanding the company's international presence Bosch steps up development activities in Hungary New Mobility Solutions development center

  • Total of 1,300 engineers at the Budapest site
  • Hungary is Bosch's second-largest development site for the Mobility Solutions business sector in Europe
  • Long-term importance of Hungary as a production and development site
Stuttgart, Germany/Budapest, Hungary – On August 7, 2015, Bosch opened its new Mobility Solutions development center in Budapest. The site boasts nearly 1,300 engineers – twice as many as four years ago – who develop electronics and components for driver assistance and engine control systems. After Germany, Bosch employs the greatest number of researchers and developers for the Mobility Solutions business sector within Europe in Hungary. Since 2011, some 100 million euros have gone towards expanding the 50,000 square meters of the Budapest site, where the company opened its new Hungarian headquarters two years ago. More than 300 associates work in sales and administration at the Hungarian headquarters.

Over the past ten years, Bosch has invested nearly one billion euros in Hungary and considerably expanded its local presence. With its ongoing investments, the international supplier of technology and services is highlighting the growing importance of the country as a development and production site within the global Bosch network. “We aim to strengthen our innovativeness both locally and globally with these investments,” said Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management, at the official opening. “In doing so, we are placing our trust in our highly qualified and dedicated associates.”

Bosch in Hungary
Bosch has been present in Hungary since 1899. In 2014, it generated sales there of nearly 2.7 billion euros, which includes deliveries to other Bosch companies. The company is represented in Hungary with its four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. Bosch employs 10,500 associates in Hungary, approximately 1,500 of whom are researchers and developers. The company has a total of five Hungarian production sites, where it manufactures automotive technology, e-bike components, industrial technology, and power tools.

Contact persons for press inquiries:
Trix Böhne, Phone: +49 711 811-6831
Agnes Grill, Phone: +49 711 811-38140
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  • August 07, 2015
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