Bosch boss tells all: Next steps for your connected car

• Transition to mobility services: annual 25%
• Connected driving, smarthomes and smartcities
• ‘In future you’ll arrange your mobility online, too.’

FUTURE MOBILITY: Images: Bosch
FUTURE MOBILITY: A presentation by vehicle Bosch technology/industry expert Volkmar Denner in Stuttgart, Germany, has put an even bolder face on the future of automobiles – even over just the next five years. Images: Bosch

IT’S THE not-too-distant future. You’re heading from home to Cape Town airport in your smartcar for a business trip. Just as the airport comes into view a courier rings the doorbell at home…

Not a problem, so long as your smartcar is connected to your smarthome. After a brief video chat with the courier you tell the touchscreen to open the front door (no, the media release doesn’t say what happens with a stranger being given a key to your house, but whatever…).

‘CONGESTION ALL ROADS’

Next stop: airport parking garage. Your smartcar drops you at departures then finds its own way to the garage, finds an empty slot and parks while you’re being scanned through security.

Now you’re at your destination city – Johannesburg, say – and your smartphone reports “congestion on all access roads” and offers an alternative to a taxi: take the Gautrain to Rosebank where an electric car has been reserved for the rest of your trip to Krugersdorp.

‘In a few years, mobility will be seamlessly connected.’ – Volkmar Denner

This vision of a business trip in the age of connected mobility was presented by Dr Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch, at a recent Automobilwoche congress in Berlin, Germany – though he didn’t specify South Africa.

That was just Carman’s Corner localising it…

FUTURE MOBILITY: Images: Bosch
ON THE ROAD, IN THE FUTURE: The modern automotive industry has much for which to thank the science-fiction magazines of 50 years ago.  Little, in The Corner’s view, is new – it’s just that the internet and advanced communications tools have made the future possible. Here’s the subject of our article, Volkmar Denner, in his office. Images: Bosch

Anyway, the Bosch CEO was addressing the industry-wide trend toward mobility services and said that from 2017-22 the global market for connected mobility was expected to grow by nearly 25% compounded annually.

He forecast: “Just a few years from now cars will be an active part of the Internet of Things (IoT), able to communicate with other connected methods of transport and with the smarthome.

“The car as we know it will soon be history. Today you use the internet to book a hotel room; in future you’ll arrange your mobility online, too.”

‘HOW?’, NOT ‘IN WHAT?’, FOR FUTURE

He believed private vehicles would be part of an integrated solution that included public transport and even entire urban infrastructures.

“In a few years,” he explained, “mobility will be seamlessly connected. People today (2016) still think in terms of their own individual vehicles but the next few years will see their focus shift toward the most convenient way to reach their destination.”

FUTURE MOBILITY: Images: Bosch
SMART PHONES, SMART HOMES: ‘Beam me up, Scotty…!’  Modern smartphones have brought to life the comms first seen in ‘Star Trek’ times. Now technology from Bosch has opened the door to smartbuses, smarttrains, smartparking and smarthomes. Images: Bosch

Denner outlined the three development stages required for this to happen:

First: connectivity begins behind the wheel

Even today (2016), he pointed out, almost every new car sold in Germany was web-enabled. Current traffic data, eCall emergency service and streaming music each required internet access and Bosch was making connected driving possible in two ways”

  • Integrating smartphones so apps can be operated safely while driving.
  • Installing communication boxes so drivers of connected vehicles can use their infotainment systems to stream both real-time data and entertainment content

Alongside the home and the office, the car will become the third living environment.” – Volkmar Denner

“Thanks to this internet connection, the car of the future will do much more than stream music – it will become the driver’s personal assistant,” Denner said. “As the degree of automation increases so drivers can become passengers whenever they want.

“Alongside the home and the office, the car will become the third living environment.”

Second: Mobility will be seamlessly connected beyond the car

Connectivity, he forecast, would extend to public transport and car-sharing. Bosch, Denner said, had already offered a glimpse of the future of mobility through a Stuttgart (Germany) Services project. As a supplier of technology and services it provided a software solution to connect various types of transport.

“Thanks to this software, he added, “one chip card is all that’s needed for car-sharing, bike-sharing, train and bus travel, even for admission to amenities such as a swimming-pool or library.

“Our mobility solutions go beyond automotive technology.”

SINGLE APP FOR EVERYTHING

Denner told the conference a seamlessly connected mobility assistant had even more potential and that his company was creating a mobility assistant so drivers in and around Stuttgart could plan routes that would use various types of transport – trains, buses, even bicycles.

“What makes this project special,” he explained, “is that a single app is enough to plan, book and pay for travel involving different types of transport.”

Third: The Internet of Things is bringing together mobility, smarthomes and smartcities

For Denner, however, connectivity is about much more than getting from A to B. “We’re not just redefining mobility, we’re also connecting people’s living environments. If cars are connected via the cloud to the smarthome, even the smartcity, there will be benefit for everybody.

“Bosch is making sure mobility and smartservices become seamless. We’re not just offering people the best way to reach their destination, we’re also freeing-up time.”

Parcel deliveries, for example, would not be delayed (as we’ve mentioned already about the courier). “You’ll be able to accept a delivery even if you are driving or in a train.”

‘INTERNET OF THINGS’ THE WAY FORWARD

Bosch says all the above will make the Internet of Things a trend way more than just a mobility solutions for the business sector. “Bosch is one of a mere handful of companies that can offer sensors, software, services, and their own IoT cloud to deliver IoT from a single source.

“Bosch is already well-positioned in all key aspects of the IoT and will continue to drive this trend forward.”

And a hint for Denner and his guys, from The Corner: Perhaps such an intelligent system could be called the New Bosch Telegraph? Have a great connected day…!

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