Bosch has now won orders worth several billion euros for its vehicle computers—€2.5 billion worth since this past summer alone.
Vehicle computers have huge business potential for Bosch. Even now, our high-performance computers mean that automakers view us as one of their leading engineering and technology partners.
—Harald Kroeger, Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH
Vehicle computers are central to Bosch’s efforts to extend its role in software-intensive electronic systems. The market for these systems is worth some €20 billion, and is set to grow 15% annually between now and 2030. To meet this demand, the new Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division and its 17,000 associates will start operations in January 2021. In this unit, Bosch is bringing together its hardware and software engineering for vehicle computers, sensors, and control units for all vehicle domains.
According to McKinsey, software’s share in the value of a vehicle will rise from just 10% today to 30% in the future. Vehicle computers that can handle such software functions and data volumes will therefore soon be a standard feature in all vehicles.
Bosch is developing computers for cockpit and connectivity functions, for driver assistance systems and automated driving, and for the powertrain and body electronics. This means it will be possible to concentrate control over all central vehicle functions in just a handful of high-performance central computers.
In the next vehicle generation, the information domain computer Bosch is developing will assume the tasks done by as many as ten control units. Some vehicles now feature more than 100 control units in total. The use of domain controllers will allow automakers to reduce this number significantly. Moreover, installing more central high-performance computers will save on wiring, and thus reduce cost, weight, and installation space.
Bosch vehicle computers will make it possible to master even highly complex driving functions across individual vehicle domains.
—Dr. Mathias Pillin, who will be assuming the position of president of the new Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division from January 2021
Bosch offers its vehicle computers as a scalable kit that contains the right electronic system, including hardware and software, for all requirements and conditions. The ultimate aim is a software and systems architecture for the entire vehicle, in which all central computers, sensors, and control units are perfectly compatible with each other. For automakers, the benefit of such a modular design is that it gives them extra flexibility when developing vehicle computers for different vehicle models. If, for example, a fundamental architecture has been defined for hardware and software, the computer can be designed along those lines, according to customer wishes.
In the case of a premium vehicle, additional functions can be provided by adding extra software modules or special chips to the printed circuit boards. In the case of a compact vehicle, the structure of the vehicle computer can be modified so that it provides central control over basic safety-relevant functions.