Bosch shifts center of gravity towards software
Bosch is restructuring its Mobility Solutions business to bring together automotive software, electronic systems and sensors in one division.
From 2021 automotive electronics systems and the requisite software will come from a single source, Cross-Domain Computing Solutions. This combines 17,000 staff from the entire Car Multimedia division and parts of the Powertrain Solutions, Chassis Systems Control, and Automotive Electronics divisions across 40 sites in 20 countries.
This follows the amalgamation of the all the electronics manufacturing activities of its Mobility Solutions business sector in April this year into the Automotive Electronics division. This now coordinates the production of control units and vehicle computers across all vehicle domains. This new manufacturing network will employ some 24,000 associates across 21 plants in 14 countries. The Mobility Solutions business is the largest within Bosch, with 60 percent of the overall turnover.
“The core task of Cross-Domain Computing Solutions will be to make the complexity of electronic systems controllable. In addition, the systems will have to be as reliable as possible,” said Harald Kroeger, member of the Bosch board of management in Bosch’s Mobility Solutions. However the deliberate separation of design, develoment and manufacuring of electronic systems and sensors risks reducing the reliability of the systems. This also lines up potential sales of the division as a self-contained business, for example to an EMS cntracft manufacturer.
Reliability of the software is a key issue. “Even now, a vehicle contains some 100 million lines of software code. Only a company with wide-ranging electronics and software expertise will be in a position to shape the future of mobility,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of its Mobility Solutions business.
The market for software-intensive electronic systems is expected to grow by 15 percent a year between now and 2030. The result is a considerable increase in the complexity of automotive engineering. For the new division, the goal will be to reduce this complexity through cross-domain software and electronics designs, reducing development times.
The new division combines software, electrical, and electronics engineers from driver assistance, automated driving, car multimedia, powertrain and body electronics. This division will also drive the definition of new platforms to provide a consistent IT architecture throughout the vehicle. This will make all the electrical and electronic components compatible, says Kroeger.
“Bosch is an automotive electronics pioneer. Moreover, for quite some time now, it has also been a software company. And in the future as well, our new division is predestined to make further progress in the digitalization of vehicles,” said Hartung.
The software of automated vehicles will include between 300 and 500 million lines of code. “Software will play a crucial part in determining a vehicle’s features and feel in the future. It will help make cars ever more intelligent, and provide drivers with a tangible benefit,” said Kroeger. “Supplying software from a single source is our response to the enormous challenge of making cars ever more digitalized.” The result will be the much faster release of new functions, pushed to users by software updates.
Bosch is focusing in particular on powerful vehicle computers as the technical basis for the digitalization of modern vehicles. “Today’s premium vehicles feature more than 100 individual control units, and even compact vehicles have between 30 and 50. Such powerful computers will allow us to significantly reduce these numbers,” said Kroeger.