More efficiency for goods transport: Bosch supplements technology for commercial vehicles with web-based logistics services

Statement by Dr. Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector at Robert Bosch GmbH, at the press conference for the IAA Commercial Vehicles show on September 21, 2016 in Hannover

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, the ways we have at our disposal to improve the efficiency of goods transport are more versatile than ever before. One of these is to cut a commercial vehicle’s operating costs, an approach that includes automating the vehicle. Another is to make the whole logistics chain more cost effective by implementing web-based services. This press conference is our chance to present our solutions in these areas. I would like to welcome you all here today, also on behalf of my colleague on the management board, Mr. Heyn. He will take the floor after my statement to show you “Vision X,” a visualization of what truck driving might be like in the next decade.

First, though, let us take a quick look at the current business situation. In spite of a subdued economic climate, Bosch’s Mobility Solutions business sector continues to grow. While global vehicle production is rising by less than 2 percent this year, our growth in sales is approaching 5 percent in real terms. The number of our associates worldwide is increasing from 217,000 to a good 225,000. We are also increasing our investment in innovation. At the beginning of 2016, there were 43,600 associates working in research and development for Mobility Solutions; by the end of the year, it will be almost 47,000. One of the responsibilities of this team is work on the future of the commercial vehicle.

New ways to transport goods economically: Bosch’s objectives

In this future, demand for transportation will continue to grow around the world. In Germany, the volume of goods transported will increase by 50 percent in the next 25 years; in China and India, it will more than double. Most of this freight traffic will be by road, which is all the more reason to take a whole new approach to cutting the operating costs of commercial vehicles. So where are we focusing our attention? First, a few points:

  • Even today, every fifth truck journey is an empty run. This rate can still be significantly reduced – for instance, by using trailer sensors that continually report the trailer’s location and load level, making freight handling platforms and transport management systems faster and smarter.

  • Personnel accounts for almost a third of truck operating costs – a greater share than fuel. The more automated the truck, the more efficient the staffing – whether it’s a case of the driver being able to take care of logistics tasks on the go, or needing just one driver instead of two on a long-distance trip.

  • One in ten euros spent on truck operating costs goes toward insurance. We can expect premiums to go down as the number of accidents decreases, thanks to assistance systems that range all the way up to automated driving. Premiums will also fall if we make transporting goods by road safer. Each year, cargo theft from parked trucks incurs losses of more than 16 billion euros in Europe alone.

These are just a few examples, but they hint at the versatile ways in which we can realize further savings in transporting goods by road. And logistics companies are not the only ones who stand to benefit. An improvement to the commercial vehicle is an improvement to the entire logistics chain – not to mention the environment and society. Efficient trucks help preserve the environment, while automated trucks help prevent accidents. Bosch’s role in these developments is in accordance with our development philosophy – “Invented for life.”

What, then, are our specific goals? I have two points to make here, one concerning the savings potential of our solutions, the other concerning the opportunities for growing our business:

  • First of all, Bosch will be pursuing a dual savings strategy in commercial vehicles. We can boost the efficiency of the powertrain by as much as 10 percent if we implement a variety of measures. That means saving a good 5,000 euros a year in operating costs for long-haul trucks. And we will be able to save much the same amount again by automating and connecting the vehicle, thereby reducing the number of accidents and breakdowns, for instance.

  • Second, we view these solutions as a great opportunity for Bosch to grow its business. Our Mobility Solutions business sector already generates one quarter of its sales with technology for commercial vehicles, from vans on upward. In the future, Bosch will be expanding its focus on systems and services for heavy commercial vehicles – whether for trucks or even for construction and agricultural machinery. To this end, at the beginning of the year we set up the Commercial Vehicle and Off-Road unit, a sales organization with its own system development. We want to double our business volume in this segment over the next ten years.

Euro 6 goes global: A boost to Bosch powertrain systems

What innovations do these objectives entail? To answer that, I’d like to address three topics: our powertrain systems, automation, and the connectivity of the commercial vehicle. The last two points in particular will be highlighted by our “Vision X” concept of the truck of the future. But first let us turn our attention to the commercial vehicle drive, a domain for which Bosch employs 2,600 developers alone.

Our diesel systems provide the prerequisites for trucks to drive eco-friendly. These trucks can adhere to the Euro 6 emissions standard in real traffic conditions. China and India are also planning to introduce comparable emissions regulations by the year 2020. This is a boost to our international business. By the end of the decade, the proportion of newly manufactured commercial vehicles worldwide equipped with common-rail systems will have risen from 70 to 90 percent. Exhaust-gas treatment is an area of particular growth, and we anticipate that we will be able to nearly double our sales by the beginning of the next decade.

In the future, climate protection regulation for the commercial vehicle will play a larger role. Carbon dioxide thresholds are on the horizon in Europe, while the limits now applicable in the U.S. are due to be reduced further. As a result, any technology that saves fuel will become even more appealing – including alternative drive systems, which in the past have hardly been worth it due to the low price of diesel. Bosch develops these sorts of systems too, both for hybrid and gas drives as well as heat recovery. 48-volt entry-level hybrids have particularly good prospects, and not just because of the fuel savings: they also stand to profit greatly from the trend towards higher voltage levels in commercial vehicles. More powerful on-board electronics are a key requirement in the high-tech truck of the future.

Fewer accidents, fewer breakdowns: Automating truck driving

Bosch has a long tradition of showcasing new technologies in commercial vehicles. It was here that we deployed our first high-pressure injection system and our first exhaust-gas treatment solution. We want to continue that tradition and drive the market forwards with our automated driving solutions – my second innovation topic. We have at our disposal broad and in-depth knowledge of software and systems for creating the necessary technological conditions:

  • First, we will turn the truck into a 40-ton smart device. Its software functionality will increase over six times by 2025, and it will have 20 times the computing capacity it does today.

  • Second, we need to connect the powertrain, assistance, and steering systems. Bosch is now the global market leader in steering systems for commercial vehicles – and we predict that half the long-haul trucks in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. will have electrically assisted steering by 2025. Without this steering system, there can be no automated truck.

Automation is on its way, approaching function by function, but is already helping us avoid accidents today. Commercial vehicles have long been required to have an ESP for stability control, in addition to other safety systems such as automatic emergency braking and a lane departure warning system. New functions on the way include turning, lane change, and maneuvering assistants. We estimate that, together, these systems will be able to prevent 90 percent of the accidents caused by trucks and resulting in bodily injury. As for logistics companies, fewer accidents means fewer disruptions and lower insurance premiums. As a result, the economic viability of the commercial vehicle becomes a driver of its automation. This is particularly true of platooning, or convoying, a brilliant automated slipstreaming solution for the freeway. We estimate that this solution will be ready for implementation no later than the middle of next decade – and Mr. Heyn will be showing you exactly what that means for truckers when he presents our “Vision X” concept.

Nothing without connectivity: Bosch offers hardware and services

As a general rule, automated truck driving is also connected driving – my third innovation topic. Platooning, for instance, requires a virtual longitudinal axis along the column to relay steering and braking actions from the lead truck to the following vehicles. However, connectivity is much more than an aid in commercial vehicle automation; it is also a direct help in cutting operating costs. One example is Bosch’s fleet management solution: connectivity control units that access control unit data so we can uncover errors or wear and tear early on and maintain vehicles proactively. This avoids the costs of breakdown and towing.

The economic benefits of connectivity are so substantial that by next year, every new truck in Europe and the U.S. will be telematics capable. Bosch will more than double its unit sales of connectivity boxes for commercial vehicles in 2017. For instance, we will be supplying the Truck Data Center for new Daimler trucks.

Still, we offer more than the hardware to connect commercial vehicles. The connected truck will be part of the internet of things, for which we possess our own cloud with integrated software platform. Our commercial vehicle customers can use the Bosch IoT Cloud to implement services, just as we do for our own services. One of these is Bosch Secure Truck Parking, a booking platform for reserving secure truck parking bays along the freeway, which will go live at the beginning of 2017. Everyone has encountered the problem of trucks blocking up service stations as they park overnight. Germany’s freeways alone need an additional 14,000 secure truck parking bays. It’s not a problem we can solve straightaway, but we can use the limited number of spaces we have more efficiently. Our booking platform gives fleet operators the assurance that their goods are safely parked overnight, and where exactly that will be. There is already a pilot project under way involving selected freight operators on one of the company’s own parking lots near the A5 in Karlsruhe. This is due to be joined by a truck stop in Bavaria over the coming weeks.

A slice of the future: Goods that report their condition during transport

With this example, I come now to my concluding remarks. It shows how hard we are working on solutions for the whole of freight traffic. In addition to our knowledge of the sector, we also possess sensor and software expertise and access to the Bosch IoT Cloud – a broad basis from which to implement new services for the logistics ecosystem. In the future, Bosch will boost transport efficiency both with logistics services and commercial vehicle technology. I leave you with a prime example of each approach:

  • Next year we will be launching TraQ – an Industry 4.0 solution that monitors goods with the help of integrated micromechanical sensors. This means that recipients always know the location of their valuable goods and the condition of their cargo.

  • Here at the show, we are showcasing a digital mirror replacement system – a world first for trucks that also improves aerodynamics. The solution reduces fuel consumption by up to 2 percent, which works out to a savings of almost 1,000 euros a year.

Bosch is helping to reduce costs in every way possible. That is the key to growing our business in the commercial vehicle and logistics sector.

Tags: Commercial vehicle, Truck

Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2018, its sales came to 47.6 billion euros, or 61 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector pursues a vision of mobility that is accident-free. emissions-free, and fascinating, and combines the group’s expertise in the domains of automation, electrification, and connectivity. For its customers, the outcome is integrated mobility solutions. The business sector’s 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 410,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2018). The company generated sales of 78.5 billion euros in 2018. 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 460 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. At nearly 130 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 68,700 associates in research and development.

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