Let’s imagine living in a utopia of the automotive industry, where the air is cleaner due to less emissions, where time is valuable and wasted time in traffic jams is reduced to a minimum, where you are always connected with your family and friends and everything you need to get by is at a click of a button.
Well, imagine no more. We’ve heard that Bosch is working towards these goals, taking into consideration that Middle East countries are introducing increasingly stringent traffic safety measures, and the UAE is working on introducing driverless vehicles on the roads by 2030.
Nowadays, the Internet and Cloud services are taking over every detail of our lives and they are seamlessly being integrated into everything that we do; so why not the automotive sector? Bosch is currently developing connectivity within the automotive sector and shaping what the future of mobility will look like. Self-driven cars, 100% connectivity from within your vehicle, and most importantly, reduced emissions and reduced traffic time. That is what’s coming next from Bosch.
How will all of that get done? Well, we went to Robert Bosch Middle East offices in Dubai to investigate further, and for that occasion we met with Mr. Volker Bischoff – General Manager/Vice President, Robert Bosch Middle East and sat down for a mind blowing discussion on the future of mobility.
Here’s what we have learned so far about Bosch:
- Bosch has 55,800 associates working in R&D
- 6.4 billion euros in 2015 on R&D expenditure (roughly 9% of sales)
- 2,500 Bosch engineers are working on automated driving/parking
- Bosch engineers invest at least 5,000 hours in the development of a new parking function
- Parking and maneuvering accidents make up 40 percent of all car accidents where there is material damage
As a business owner who has to drive to meet clients, and I have been doing so for the past 20 years, I can truly say that driving to your destination is something and arriving is something else. I mean, when you have a perfectly running vehicle, you can drive to reach your destination easily; however, finding the parking spot is the hard part. Who among us doesn’t wish for an automated valet parking service that can just take your car away when you arrive, park it by itself and call it back when you are done, and don’t get me started on parking dings and scratches. On another note, did you know that 30% of traffic jams are caused by drivers circulating to find a parking spot?
Taking all of the above into consideration, Mr. Bischoff explained that Bosch engineers are developing a wide range of products and solutions that enable automated and connected mobility. These include several driver assistance innovations that make life safer, easier, and more comfortable for drivers, such as active parking lot management, automated valet parking, park assist, active gas pedal, and maneuver emergency braking, among others.
All of that is great but we wanted to know more, how it works? What’s coming soon? How can my car park itself and most importantly Why Bosch?
When it comes to developing and introducing services for the connected world, Bosch’s broad business portfolio from households, aftermarket parts, energy, mobility…offers a particular advantage, as does its competence in software and sensors. Bosch can connect many things across a wide range of domains as no other company can – cars with houses, even entire cities. “Nearly 40% of all Bosch product classes are web-enabled”, Mr. Bischoff explained, adding, “Did you know that most mobile phones nowadays have Bosch parts in them?” We also learned that over the next few years, Bosch plans to launch a host of parking assistance systems. These systems help drivers park accident-free, or even completely guide them into a space at the touch of a button. It is mainly based on ultrasonic sensors, which Bosch has been making since 1993.
So what is coming next for automated parking?
For Bosch, automated parking begins in the vehicle – but it goes much further than that. Bosch offers two solutions:
- For parking lots: Bosch deploys special occupancy sensors in parking lots or garages that detect and report empty spaces.
- For curbside parking: Bosch uses the sensors that are becoming standard in an increasing number of vehicles and employs them in the search for curbside parking.
So what can you tell us about the future of parking lots?
“Parking as we know it today won’t exist in the future. Even before the end of this decade, cars will drive themselves to a space in a parking garage. Drivers will simply leave their car in a handover zone outside a parking garage and instruct it by smartphone to search for a parking space. When ready to leave, they call the car back to the drop-off point in the same way. This will be soon available for car owners through the Automated valet parking Function. This Bosch function will not only relieve drivers of having to search for a parking space, but also enables the vehicle to park itself. Fully automated parking will require several things, including an intelligent parking garage infrastructure, on-board vehicle sensors, and connectivity for both.”
And what about the Curbside Parking where there’s no pavement sensors?
“With community-based parking program, we are turning cars into sensors and making cities smarter. Bosch takes the ultrasonic sensors in parking sensors and programs them to detect curbside parking spaces. Cars can then identify curbside spaces between parked cars as they drive past. The information is sent to the respective cloud based system using Bosch’s connectivity control unit (CCU), and then forwarded in anonymized form to the Bosch IoT Cloud (BIC). Using an intelligent process, Bosch pools the data from all vehicles to generate a digital parking map and shares it with all vehicles connected to the server. The system informs the driver about the vacant spots according to the vehicle size and guide him consequently. Bosch expects that by 2020, all newly registered vehicles in markets will be connected in this way.”
One more problem remains unsolved; how can we get rid of dings and scratches resulting from parking maneuvering?
“Well, Bosch can support in this as well, maneuvering a car into a parking space is truly an art. Bosch is offering functions that can help maneuvering your vehicle into the parking space. The smart trailer parking system offers a convenient way for drivers to control their vehicle from the curbside using a smartphone. It is based on electric power steering, the ESP, the electronic gas pedal, and a trailer hitch featuring a trailer angle sensor. Drivers can select steering angle and vehicle speed with an app. As for the Remote Park Assist, vehicles park themselves as if by magic. All drivers need to do is press and hold a button on their ignition key or smartphone. This tells the vehicle to automatically maneuver itself into the parking space it has previously detected and measured using ultrasonic sensors.”
Finally, Mr. Bischoff, wealth of information, left us wondering about the future of mobility and what a utopia of the automotive world would look like in the near future. The future is vast and technology is in constant progress. We can’t wait for 2020 and beyond to see Bosch’s systems in implementation. I personally will be cutting down at least 30% of my time, 30% of my emissions, and most importantly, I won’t have to deal with anymore parking stress.