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Bosch launches online social counselling for associates
Last year, members of Germany’s public insurance companies missed an average of 36 days of work for mental health reasons. According to the BKK Health Report 2016, the number of sick days due to psychological ailments more than doubled between 2005 and 2015. With the aim of helping its associates even more, Bosch is now the first company in Germany to offer its in-house social counselling service for associates online. “In-house social counselling can contribute to maintaining the health of our associates,” explains Christoph Kübel, member of the board of management and director of industrial relations at Robert Bosch GmbH. “With the online offer, it is now even easier for them to get support“.
Easy access, low inhibition threshold
On the new social counselling website, more than 100,000 Bosch associates in Germany can now get in touch with the experts at the company’s in-house social counselling service. The new point of contact makes it easier for associates to get advice. They can use the service from anywhere at any time, also from their smart phones and home computers. Associates and counsellors communicate via email, or live in individual and expert chats. Just like personal meetings, all digital conversations remain confidential. This makes it easier to talk about sensitive issues related to mental health, stress management, and crisis management. “With our online counselling services, we are reaching associates who may have been too afraid or ashamed to seek help in the past,” says Michaela Noe-Bertram, head of in-house counselling services at Bosch.
With its online counselling services, Bosch has further expanded its healthcare services for associates. In 2015, the company added prevention, rehabilitation, and integration measures related to mental health. The aim is to detect psychological problems early on, raise awareness among associates and their supervisors, and make integrated help services available. In addition to the in-house counselling service, the network also includes Bosch health services and the company’s more than 400 sport and leisure time groups.
More information on the new online social counselling service be found here (Only available in German).
New technologies are improving road safety
While riding a motorcycle with the wind in your hair provides the ultimate sense of freedom, it is also dangerous. Last year, there were 30,000 motorcycle accidents in Germany alone, 600 of which were fatal. The risk of dying in an accident is 18 times higher for motorcyclists than for drivers of passenger cars. The former group is thus the most at risk of all road users.
Bosch aims to make road traffic safer for motorcyclists and car drivers alike. In cooperation with its partners Autotalks, Cohda Wireless, and Ducati, the company is working on connecting motorcycles and cars so that the vehicles can speak to one another. The new technology makes the data sharing between vehicles possible within a radius of several hundred meters. Via “multi-hopping,” data on vehicle type, speed, position, and direction of travel can be transmitted from vehicle to vehicle. As a result, drivers are aware of an oncoming motorcycle long before it appears in their field of vision. This makes improved predictive driving possible. If the system detects a hazardous situation, it warns motorcyclists and car drivers with an acoustic warning as well as a warning signal in the cockpit.
According to Bosch accident researchers, almost one in three motorcycle accidents could be prevented with this technology. “We are creating a digital protective shield for motorcyclists,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management.
Another Bosch project enhances the company’s commitment to improving road safety: Bosch recently entered a partnership with Sony Semiconductor Solutions with the aim of developing highly innovative video sensors for modern cars. The new camera technology will enable more precise data gathering on a vehicle’s surroundings, even in difficult lighting conditions, for instance when the sun is low. The technology will enhance both driver assistance and automated driving systems.
More information on the major Bosch components for automated driving can be found in this brief glossary.
Find out more about the Bosch commitment to safer roads under Sustainable Development Goal 3 in the Bosch Sustainability Report 2016.
Bosch gives a talk at the 2017 B.A.U.M. annual conference
On May 17 and 18, the annual conference and award ceremony of the German working group for eco-friendly management (B.A.U.M.) took place at the Commerzbank Arena in Frankfurt. Under the banner of “Sustainability as a success factor”, experts from universities, professional associations, and the private sector presented new sustainability solutions. Dr. Lothar Baum, the head of a data assessment research team at the Bosch campus is Renningen, was among the speakers. The expert explained the importance of Big Data and artificial intelligence in mastering the challenges of the future.
They are living the #SuccessfactorSustainability: The B.A.U.M. award winners of 2017
More data for smart machines
In 2017, 15 trillion gigabytes of data were digitally stored. Thanks to growing computing capacity and increasingly complex networks, the data pool is growing at lightning speed. “The ability to generate new knowledge out of large volumes of data will be decisive in the future”, says Lothar Baum. Big Data, the collection and analysis of huge data sets, also shapes the foundation of artificial intelligence (AI). It describes the process in which machines imitate human behavior based on prescribed or learned patterns. An AI system recognizes its environment with cameras or sensors and uses the data it collects to make predictions or take action.
Experts for artificial intelligence: Bosch specialist Dr. Lothar Baum (on the left) and US journalist Jay Tuck (on the right)
Producing and parking in a sustainable manner
Manufacturing processes at Bosch are an example of how artificial intelligence can be used. By analyzing large volumes of data, smart factories continuously monitor product quality and can thus minimize material waste. This increases efficiency, conserves resources, and helps ensure long product life cycles. The search for parking spots also calls for intelligent technology: connected vehicles automatically detect free parking spots and transmit the information to the Bosch cloud in real time. As a result, other drivers are also guided to available spots more quickly and precisely. This solution not only saves time, it also reduces CO2 emissions.
Safety expert and author Jay Tuck presents his newest book release "Evolution ohne uns" ("Evolution without us") at the B.A.U.M. conference
A center for AI research
The field of artificial intelligence is an important part of Bosch strategy. By 2021, the company will have invested some 300 million euros into the Bosch center for Artificial Intelligence, which will employ almost 100 specialists. “Together with our research colleagues, we are creating new algorithms and computer structures to handle large volumes of data in the best possible manner,” says Lothar Baum. Another team is responsible for cooperating with the divisions to turn the research findings into practical solutions at more than 250 Bosch sites.
Bosch has been a member of B.A.U.M. e.V. since 1990. In 2009, Franz Fehrenbach, chairman of the supervisory board of Robert Bosch GmbH and managing partner of Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG (RBIK), received a B.A.U.M. environmental prize in the large company category. The award acknowledged his commitment to the environment.
More information about how Bosch is connecting mobility intelligently can be found here.
More information on intelligent IoT solutions can be found here.
How e-bikes can improve urban traffic
Each day, we spend an average of about 11.5 hours sitting at our desks, in meetings, on the couch, or at restaurants. As a result, our physical activity is limited and we do not get enough fresh air. Getting to work is also part of the problem. In Germany, some 30 million commuters travel a total of 835 million kilometers each day.
Most of these commuters (82 percent) travel less than 25 kilometers, and could thus leave their cars at home and use e-bikes instead. Pedal electric cycles – pedelecs for short – are equipped with an electric drive that supports cyclists when they need it, thus enabling them to travel distances of up to 25 kilometers without breaking a sweat. Thanks to different levels of support, cyclists can decide themselves how much effort they want to put into pedaling.
Commuters who use pedelecs enjoy a largely stress-free commuting experience: particularly on short routes, e-bikes are often the fastest mode of transportation. Thanks to intelligent route planning, commuters can select routes with few intersections or without stop-and-go traffic. The Nylon onboard computer, which Bosch developed specifically for e-bikes, helps commuters navigate their way to work. The computer can be used to plan routes in advance, often making it possible to avoid long traffic jams. Moreover, pedelecs are eco-friendly: they emit only 1.25 percent the pollutants that cars do. As a result, pedelec users not only do something that is good for their health, they also contribute to protecting the environment.
Bosch spends about 400 million euros each year on e-mobility. The company also offers a broad range of components for e-bikes, among them the drive unit, which includes the motor and transmission, the power pack, and the onboard computer. According to ZIV’s most recent estimates, some 560,000 pedelecs were sold in 2016, up five percent over the previous year. This means that there are currently more than three million pedelecs on German streets.
eBikes can also be used as cargo bikes: in Brussels, Bosch technicians have been using e-cargo bikes since 2016.
More information on the ways in which e-bikes make urban life easier can be found here.
Girls’ Day: Bosch Rexroth sparks girls’ enthusiasm for unconventional professions
In the German states of Hesse and Bavaria, almost 70 girls recently had the opportunity to learn about soldering, welding, and cutting. On the occasion of Girls’ Day on April 27, they visited the Bosch Rexroth plants in Lohr, Erbach, or Schweinfurt, where they were shown that technical and manual professions are just as suitable for women as they are for men.
In Germany, Girls’ Day takes place each spring, and aims to spark girls’ enthusiasm for the technical professions from the fifth grade onward. Today, such jobs are still largely the domain of men. This is often because girls do not have the information or knowledge they need to be interested in technical apprenticeships or courses of study. Bosch Rexroth would like to change this state of affairs.
At the Ehrbach plant, 13 Girls’ Day participants tried out soldering irons. Under the guidance of trainer Frank Bauer and several apprentices, the seventh graders soldered a cube that is controlled by a microcontroller. They then took the finished product home with them, along with valuable insights into the “electrician for devices and systems” apprenticeship.
At Bosch Rexroth in Rohr, 35 schoolgirls visited the plant and demonstrated natural talent for professions such as industrial electrician, mechatronics engineer, foundry mechanic, cutting machine operator, and technical product designer. Moreover, 20 high school students visited the corporate units at the Schweinfurt plant, where they gathered valuable information on a broad range of apprenticeships and as well as on cooperative education programs.
Beyond Girls’ Day, Bosch is committed to promoting gender equality. By 2020, the company aims to fill at least 20 percent of management positions with women. In 2016, the figure was already 15.4 percent. The Bosch Sustainability Report 2016 describes in detail how Bosch supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDG 5: gender equality.