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Stress-free urban mobility: from vision to reality

Dr. Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector of Robert Bosch GmbH, at the Bosch Mobility Experience in Boxberg, July 4, 2017

Bosch stress-free urban mobility

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Ladies and gentlemen,

The film you have just seen shows all too clearly that new, bold traffic planning is needed for the world’s megacities. Traffic has to be as close to zero-emissions as possible, as well as accident-free and, not least, stress-free. These wishes are still visions, but they are visions that determine the path our development efforts will take. This is what we want to show you at this Bosch Mobility Experience, to which I would like to offer you a very warm welcome. To explain what is driving us, I would refer to our strategic imperative: more than ever, it is technology “Invented for life” that is needed in our urban environment – an environment in which more and more people will be on the move. By de-congesting and improving urban traffic, we want to make it easier for those people to get around – this is the biggest challenge for mobility providers worldwide.

By 2050 at the latest, there will be more than six billion people living in megacities, twice as many as now. By then, urban traffic will have tripled – not least because online commerce will continue to generate ever more delivery traffic. It is scarcely conceivable that this growing traffic volume will be on four wheels only, and so we too are focusing on new solutions for transporting people and goods that go beyond the car. This is in line with urban planning around the world, which is moving away from the solely car-centric city to an idea of mobility that is both smart and multimodal. We have to develop a new concept of urban traffic: goods that are delivered from inner-city distribution centers by connected electric vans, people who switch from road to rail, and from four to two wheels, depending on congestion and need. Moreover, this changeover from cars to trains or bikes has to be managed smoothly, with a minimum of searching and waiting. And this in turn presupposes seamless connectivity – that all means of transport in the city are connected with each other. This shift has already begun. In Europe, London is becoming a smart city, just as Singapore is in Asia. As early as 2025, 80 of the world’s metropolises will be smart cities, and even now, Bosch is pursuing 14 beacon projects in this field, half of them concerned with urban mobility. Here, we are also opening up a future field of business.

Vision #1: stress-free mobility is connected mobility

Let’s first take a closer look at the transformation of urban mobility. The major metropolises are suffering from congestion, air pollution, and a lack of parking. For this reason, their priorities are threefold: to avoid, to shift, and to improve traffic flows. The first implication of this is that industrial and residential areas will, over the long term, have to be mixed to reduce the need for getting from A to B. The second is that people will drive less with their own vehicles. And the third is that, if cars still need to be driven, this will have to be as ecofriendly and safe as possible. City-dwellers have the same aims. However, the one thing they want more than anything else is to get from A to B without stress. This can only work if they can plan their journeys flexibly. For the city traffic of the future, the motto is that it doesn’t always have to be your own car. Four wheels, two wheels, rail – this is the new, pragmatic approach to mobility. That said, our job is to ensure that switching from a vehicle of one’s own to other means of transport is as effortless as possible. To give you a concrete example: it will have to be possible to reserve parking spaces near rail or bike stations online, at the push of a button. In other words, the commuting city-dwellers of the future will always have cloud services with them, their own personal mobility assistants. Especially from the point of view of megacity-dwellers, stress-free travel can only be connected travel.

Over the course of our event today, you will be able to see how Bosch is making connectivity possible in and beyond the car. Let me give you a preview of what’s on show. Our vehicles and workshops will give you the chance to experience today’s state of the art in urban mobility, as well as its future.

  • We already offer mobility services for large cities. Our e-scooter sharing service Coup is one example. After debuting in Berlin, it has now been launched in Paris. Bosch has put 1,600 scooters on the road, and more are on the way – one of them can be seen in our exhibits.
  • Next year, we will be launching the Bosch Automotive Cloud Suite, a software platform that is practically the centerpiece of connected mobility. Accessing online parking and your smart home while on the road is something you can experience in one of our demo vehicles.
  • Step by step, our projects are helping take the stress out of the search for parking. At present, this search accounts for one-third of urban traffic. Our solutions for connected and automated parking save time and fuel, and spare people’s nerves – in our workshop, you can find out more.
  • We are also forming alliances for connected driving with international partners. Before this decade is out we will have managed to create a high-definition digital map that also contains the readings from our radar sensors. We are working on this together with TomTom, as well as with the Chinese providers AutoNavi, Baidu, and NavInfo. This radar signature will enable self-driving cars to determine their location with precision.
  • In the years ahead, we will also be connecting and automating freight traffic. We are currently developing novel logistics services. In one instance, integrated micromechanical sensors monitor the freight. Our aim here is to reduce costs, improve logistical efficiency, and relieve the infrastructure. Want to know how will we do this? Then I advise you to have a look at our connected truck exhibit.
  • In the next decade, connectivity will go hand in hand with a transformation of the car itself. It will become a third living environment, alongside homes and workplaces. In the future, simple gestures will be all it takes to shop online or reserve an e-bike from behind the wheel. You can experience this for yourself in our concept car.

Vision #2: accident-free mobility is automated mobility

Just like connected driving, automated driving reduces stress on the roads. But above all, it significantly improves safety. Our vision is clear: to reduce accidents on city streets to an absolute minimum. More than 1.2 million people are still killed every year on the world’s roads. That’s 2.3 a minute, or more than 20 since I started my presentation. If we look at our cities, we see significant differences between those in advanced and emerging economies. In Stockholm, Tokyo, and Berlin, for example, we see 3 to 5 deaths per 100,000 road users. In Jaipur, Guadalajara, and Curitiba, the figure is 15 to 35. Obviously, the more modern the infrastructure and the better vehicles are equipped, the safer road traffic becomes. The fact that electronic guardian angels are mandatory in most advanced economies is clearly reflected in the accident statistics. But still nine out of ten accidents are caused by human error. For this reason alone, automated driving will save further lives. It is a perfect illustration of what “Invented for life” means. Our accident researchers estimate that it can reduce accident numbers by a further one-third in Germany alone. In this context, the contours of a major economic shift are beginning to emerge: the more automated or indeed driverless vehicles there are, the lower the share of vehicles that are privately owned. By 2030, every tenth car may be a shared vehicle. In fact, metropolises such as London, Singapore, and Paris are backing autonomous shuttles – called “pods” or “robocabs” – as a mobility solution.

We also want to look more closely at this development over the course of the day. My colleague Mr. Hoheisel will sketch out the path from driver assistance to automated driving in more detail. And for your part, you can accompany us on this journey into the future in our workshops, vehicles, and exhibits:

  • To start at the beginning: it was Bosch that made it possible for vehicles to drive automatically in emergencies. The electronic guardian angels ABS and ESP are pioneering achievements of our company. There’s no longer any need to show you these systems. Without doubt, however, they have protected all of us from a collision at some time or other by automatically taking control of braking or steering for a split second.
  • What we want to show you instead is the current dramatic development of our driver assistance systems – both technologically and economically. We are growing rapidly with these systems, also in the wake of ever stricter safety rating criteria for new vehicles. A workshop will give you more information.
  • Finally, we want to look at developments up to the start of the next decade. By then, in collaboration with Daimler, we want to have made urban automated driving possible. This is currently one of our most ambitious engineering projects, a veritable revolution in urban mobility. And looking even further ahead, it will also be the basis for the robocabs of the more distant future. Worldwide, we are making automated driving a priority. For example, we are supplying sensors for the Chinese “Apollo” project – Baidu’s open platform for the development of self-driving cars. You are welcome to join us in a workshop for a sneak preview of this future development.

Vision #3: many paths lead to emissions-free mobility

Whatever we do – it is worthless without clean air. It is precisely for this reason that we’re stubbornly pursuing the goal of emissions-free mobility, especially in cities. Clean air is an absolute priority – and this not only in Stuttgart, where we have our headquarters, but also in the world’s conurbations. When thousands of schools in Beijing and New Delhi have to be closed because of smog alerts, as happened in 2016, something is clearly amiss. But what is amiss when Paris, Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City decide to ban diesel vehicles from their streets from 2025? In our view, this is ecologically misguided – or at best environmental protection from a blinkered perspective. Blinkered if only because such driving bans ignore diesel’s outstanding efficiency, which is still needed to limit global warming. But also blinkered because it underestimates the potential still latent in this technology, since emissions from diesel and gasoline engines can be cut even further – further than any legislation currently requires. Politicians should not restrict our engineers’ creativity by favoring or disadvantaging a certain technology. Bosch spends half its impressive seven-billion-euro annual R&D budget on environmental protection and resource conservation. We invest a lot in making all powertrains fit for the future.

So if I’m asked whether the urban mobility of the future will be more electric than ever, I can answer in the affirmative. But I would also like to add that combustion engines and electric motors will coexist for many years to come. Above all, we will not be able to achieve our very ambitious CO2 targets solely on the basis of electric vehicles. We have to pull out all our engineering stops, which means that we still have to improve diesel and gasoline engines. This is not to say we are ignoring the air pollution in many cities – this pollution is also one of the reasons we are optimizing our technology. Last not least, the combustion engine itself may become an alternative powertrain if it runs on synthetic fuel produced using renewable energy. This would make it resource-conserving and CO2-neutral. Many paths lead to emissions-free mobility, and Bosch is exploring them all.

The progress we are making toward the grand ambition of clean air in our cities is also demonstrated by the vehicles we’re showcasing. You can drive them yourselves on our proving ground. Once again, I will conclude this section with an outline of our solutions for this decade and the next. Here again, the future has already begun, as our many ongoing projects show:

  • This year alone will see the first-time certification of diesel models that comply with the Euro 6 emissions standards in real driving conditions – also with the help of our technology. We are currently involved in some 300 RDE projects with our customers. Moving beyond this year, our aim is clear: we want to support automakers in their efforts to make nitrogen oxide driving emissions from diesel vehicles even lower than at the test bay – and this without substantially more effort. We have already shown this is possible in urban test drives. Here in Boxberg, all I can say to you is: see for yourself!
  • You can also try out some modern gasoline-powered vehicles on our test track. Here too, I can make a clear technical promise: In Europe, we will no longer do any engineering work for spark-ignition engines that are not fitted with a particulate filter. Since these particulate filters were introduced, the diesel has not had a particulate problem, and we aim to achieve the same result for gasoline engines. We take air quality seriously, regardless of the powertrain used.
  • The 48-volt onboard network is suitable for entry-level hybrids. Here, we are a systems supplier, from the electric motor to the battery. And even after the planned sale of Robert Bosch Starter Motors Generators Holding GmbH, we will be able to draw on this tried and tested portfolio. Our business with this system is doing well. For example, in China alone, we won five major orders for our 48-volt battery technology in 2016. We have organized a workshop that describes the next technical steps in this field.
  • All-electric 48-volt powertrain systems will feature in the very small and very light new vehicles for personal urban mobility. We are also equipping these vehicles, whether the two-wheel E-Schwalbe or the four-wheel e.Go. My colleague Mr. Heyn will speak later about Bosch’s role in this light electromobility. And of course, you will have the opportunity to try out these electric vehicles of the future for yourselves.
  • To make larger vehicles capable of driving electrically as well, we are driving forward the development of our high-voltage systems. On the one hand, there is the battery. By the end of the decade, we want to more than double its energy density and halve its cost. On the other hand, there is the electric axle, a motor, power electronics, and transmission integrated in one housing – highly efficient and simple to standardize. For the first time, we can show you a prototype of the new axle in one of our exhibits. The upshot of all these various new developments is that Bosch electrical powertrain components are already to be found in half a million vehicles around the world.
  • Indeed, Bosch electromobility is already in evidence in our urban delivery traffic. For example, we supply the powertrain system for the German company Deutsche Post DHL Streetscooters. This is Europe’s largest electric-vehicle fleet. Here in Boxberg, you can test drive a Streetscooter.

Business situation: growth this year and beyond

As you can see, ladies and gentlemen, we’re full of plans. And Bosch has the economic clout to make solutions for tomorrow’s urban mobility reality. Only very recently, we announced we will be building a new wafer fab in Dresden, a total investment of a billion euros. We also need this new fab to cover the increasing demand for chips in the cars of the future. Our Mobility Solutions business sector’s 227,000 associates worldwide generated sales of 43.9 billion euros in 2016. It has made a good start to the current year, and is likely to grow 7 percent in 2017, nearly three times as fast as global automotive production. Over the course of the year, we will also be strengthening our “team future.” By the end of 2017, we will have more than 48,000 research and development associates working on mobility solutions – some 4,000 more than at the beginning of the year. They are the source of the creative power that will also allow us to open up the urban mobility business.

We expect this business to experience a boost over the next few years. The challenges for urban traffic I have sketched out are considerable, as is the pressure on local authorities to deal with them. Our solutions offer them support, regardless of whether they are looking for parking apps or ways of keeping their air clean. Nine out of ten of the world’s megacities see the need for investments in multimodal mobility. This form of mobility depends crucially on connectivity. It is the mobility of a connected, or smart, city. As I already mentioned, Bosch is also supporting these developments with a series of projects, from San Francisco in the U.S. to Tianjin in China. Between now and 2020, the smart-city market will grow 19 percent each year, reaching a volume of 700 billion euros. We will be a part of that, not least because ourdiversified portfolio includes energy, building, and industrial technology, but also in the shape of our own IoT cloud. But there can be no smart cities without smart traffic. The more fluid the traffic, the smarter the city – the one is the key to the other. This challenge is the rationale behind the diversification of our mobility solutions. We will remain an automotive systems supplier, a strong and above all innovative partner of the automotive industry. But on top of this, we are evolving into a provider of services for road users. To come up with new concepts for mobility, we are also revising our conception of Bosch.

Tags: Electrified mobility, Urban Mobility, Urbane Mobilität, Powertrain, Connected Mobility, MPK, Automotive Press Briefing, Automated Mobility, Powertrain Systems, E Mobility

Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2016, its sales came to 43.9 billion euros, or 60 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 390,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2016). The company generated sales of 73.1 billion euros in 2016. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT company, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, smart cities, connected mobility, and connected manufacturing. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. 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.” 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 nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At 120 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 59,000 associates in research and development.

Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com, iot.bosch.com, www.bosch-press.com, www.twitter.com/BoschPresse.