Report: Farmington Hills’ Bosch Paints Picture of Future Mobility Shuttles

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Bosch, which is based in Germany and has its North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, has announced it is designing shuttle mobility services as cities’ mobility ecosystems update.

The company provides components and systems for automating, connecting, and electrifying shuttles and plans to branch out into mobility services. Bosch described driverless electric shuttles that glide almost silently through cities, and are made of glass and display screens. The company predicted they will become commonplace on city streets.

The system to use these shuttles will include booking, sharing, and networking platforms; parking and charging services; software solutions for managing and maintaining the vehicles; and infotainment systems for the journey.

“Bosch is developing a unique package of hardware, software, and mobility services for shuttle mobility of the future,” says Markus Heyn, a member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.

The emergence of the shuttle segment is a result of rising demand for ridesharing services, says Bosch. Roland Berger estimated that in Europe, the U.S., and China, about 1 million on-demand shuttle buses will be on the roads as early as the year 2020, growing to 2.5 million by 2025. Many of the vehicles will be fully electric and completely autonomous by the middle of the next decade at the latest.

Bosch’s concept shuttle includes electric powertrains, 360-degree surround sensors, vehicle computers, and connectivity management systems. Mobility services will allow users to book vehicles, share rides, and pay for the journey. Charging, maintaining, and route planning will also call for connected technology.

Users will be able to book a shuttle, and an algorithm will identify the vehicle closest to the requested location. It will find users who wish to travel a similar route. The more passengers the shuttle can transport, the cheaper the journey will be for each person. The approach will reduce the amount of traffic in cities and mitigate environmental impact. Riders will use their smartphones as digital fingerprints to open the vehicle.

The shuttles will know how long the battery charge will last and where to recharge the vehicle, so users will not be stranded with a dead battery. They will also be nearly emissions-free as well as safe – Bosch has its own radar, video, and ultrasonic sensors, braking control systems, and power steering. Shuttles will also know what environmental conditions to expect.

The interior of the concept vehicle provides space for four passengers, seating them across from one another. Screens can be used either by each passenger or in groups and will be controlled by smartphones and on-board Wi-Fi.

The shuttle will also be able to detect if passengers leave belongings behind and notify them via smartphone. It will also be able to see if passengers have left garbage in the shuttle and will be able to drive itself to a cleaning facility. Finally, it will be able to monitor its own systems and drive itself to a repair shop when necessary. Manufacturers and operators will receive condition updates.

Bosch will present its solutions in early January at CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the world’s biggest electronics show. The company is a global supplier of technology and services. It employed about 402,000 associates worldwide as of Dec. 31, 2017.

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