In order to get automated driving off the ground in China, a promising concept is still needed for how to generate high-precision, up-to-the-minute maps.
Bosch wants to change this and has signed a collaboration agreement with the Chinese internet group Baidu and the map providers AutoNavi and NavInfo. Together, the four partners are working on a solution that will let them use information collected by Bosch’s radar and video sensors in vehicles to generate and update maps. “Automated driving will not be possible without high-precision maps – not in China and not anywhere else in the world either,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, member of Robert Bosch GmbH’s board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, in the run-up to Auto Shanghai. Bosch is pursuing an open, standardized approach. Automated vehicles will use the data collected by Bosch sensors to determine their own location, which is essential for automated driving. This data will be compatible with the three partners’ map data. Bosch, AutoNavi, Baidu, and NavInfo want to present their solution before the end of the year.
74 percent of Chinese want automated driving soon
Bosch and the Baidu internet group are even going a step further. Together, they have set up a test vehicle on the basis of a Jeep Cherokee for partially automated driving on Chinese freeways. The test vehicle is equipped with numerous Bosch components. These include, among other things, five mid-section radar sensors and a multi-purpose camera for environment recognition, as well as an ESP braking control system and electronic power steering. “Automated driving is a global topic for Bosch,” says Bulander. “With China we are now starting our fourth testing location after Germany, the U.S., and Japan.” As the world’s largest automotive market and with roughly 28 million vehicles now being produced annually, China is also an important sales market for automated driving technologies. Chinese consumers are already very open to the topic. In a representative Bosch survey carried out in six countries, 74 percent of the Chinese interviewed declared themselves in favor of the rapid introduction of automated driving in their country. By way of comparison: in Germany, this figure was 33 percent of those surveyed, while in the U.S. it was 31 percent.
Bosch experiences growth in China with automation, connectivity, and electrification
Automated driving is just one potential field of growth for Bosch in China, however. At Auto Shanghai, the company is presenting its concept study that shows how connectivity can transform a car from a mere means of transportation into a driver’s personal assistant. Modern display instruments and user interfaces accentuate the advantages of automated and connected driving and will enable safe, relaxed driving in the future. Bosch is also equipped to grow in the fields of powertrain technology and electrification. With its customized gasoline and diesel direct injection systems, its systems solutions for hybrid and electric vehicles, and its extensive modular concept for CNG powertrains, Bosch can help Chinese manufacturers to meet the China6 emissions standard.
Bosch Mobility Solutions also overtakes the Chinese market in 2016
China is both an important and very successful market for Bosch. In 2016, the supplier of technology and services recorded sales of RMB 66.3 billion (Euro 9 billion) in the Middle Kingdom with its mobility solutions. This was an increase of 23.5 percent over the previous year. China’s automotive market grew by 14 percent in the same period. “China is and remains a synonym for growth for us. In 2016, we generated 20 percent of our Mobility Solutions sector sales here,” says Bulander. Bosch currently employs more than 34,000 associates in the Mobility Solutions sector in China at 21 manufacturing ¬sites. These include more than 4,600 developers working on innovations for the local market in 12 Bosch technology centers.