With future vehicle architectures becoming increasingly complex, Bosch pools software and electronics teams into one division for integrated approach...
Bosch is to pool its software and electronics teams into a new single “cross-domain computing solutions” division aimed at offering a streamlined, integrated approach to developing future vehicle architectures. The new division, which will have roughly 17,000 staff, aims to address an increasingly software-intensive electronic systems market, which the company said is expected to grow by 15% annually between now and 2030.
A vehicle already contains some 100 million lines of software code, according to Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of its mobility solutions business sector. The trend toward more sophisticated electronics and more software results in a considerable increase in the complexity of automotive engineering. Hence the goal of the new division will be to reduce this complexity through cross-domain software and electronics solutions.
In addition, it will aim to get new vehicle functions on the road significantly faster. To achieve this, Bosch has assigned software, electrical, and electronics engineers from the areas of driver assistance, automated driving, car multimedia, powertrain and body electronics to the new unit. Hartung said, “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. Only a company with wide-ranging electronics and software expertise will be in a position to shape the future of mobility.”
The growing significance of software is a key reason for the new integrated division. Where a car included roughly 10 million lines of software code ten years ago, 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 Harald Kroeger, member of the Bosch board of management in Bosch’s mobility solutions business unit.
As a supplier of technology and services, Bosch recognized the significance of vehicle software, and has been developing it in-house for nearly 40 years, with a current annual spend of 3 billion euros. Traditional software engineering in individual, discrete units is increasingly coming up against its limits. This is why Bosch is pooling its automotive software engineering resources in the new cross-domain computing solutions division.
“Supplying software from a single source is our response to the enormous challenge of making cars ever more digitalized,” Kroeger commented. He will be responsible for the new division, which in the future will develop both the software on which the vehicle computers and control units are based and the software for vehicle functions ranging from park-assist and lane-keeping support systems to music streaming. The result is expected to be much faster release of new functions, brought to users by software updates.
In addition to cross-domain software development, Bosch is devoting a lot of effort to future-proofing vehicles’ E/E (electrical/electronic) architecture. Hence the new division will also be responsible for the development of vehicle computers, control units, and sensors. Their smooth interaction will be crucial in the future. “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,” Kroeger said.
In this respect, Bosch is focusing in particular on powerful vehicle computers as the technical basis for the digitalization of modern vehicles. With more and more functions featuring in every part of the vehicle, these computers combine the tasks of individual control units. “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.
In addition, with vehicle computers – for cockpit and connectivity functions, for driver assistance systems, for automated driving, and for the powertrain – now being developed in a cross-domain unit for the first time, Bosch said the result will be a consistent IT architecture throughout the vehicle. All the electrical and electronic components will thus be perfectly compatible.
With the new cross-domain computing solutions division, Bosch aims to offer its customers vehicle electronics and software from a single source. “The dynamic shift toward ever more digitalization in the vehicle will crucially determine the shape of the new division. Our new set-up will allow us to satisfy new requirements – both of the market and our customers – even better,” commented Kroeger.
Hence from the start of 2021, the entire car multimedia division and parts of the powertrain solutions, chassis systems control, and automotive electronics divisions that develop software-intensive, cross-domain electronic systems will be brought together in the new division. This means that the new division will employ some 17,000 staff at more than 40 locations in over 20 countries.
Bosch already pooled all the electronics manufacturing activities of its mobility solutions business sector in April this year. The automotive electronics division now coordinates the production of control units and vehicle computers across all vehicle domains. In this way, the company is also achieving synergy effects in its manufacturing operations. The new manufacturing network will employ some 24,000 associates across 21 plants in 14 countries.