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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.
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.
Innovations related to the Internet of Things
On March 15 and 16, the STATION event center in Berlin became a meeting point for tech visionaries with Bosch ConnectedWorld2017, the world’s biggest conference for the Internet of Things (IoT). Representatives of different industries demonstrated the advantages that digital connectivity has brought forth. Some 2,700 engineers, business experts, and journalists from around the world attended the event this year. More than 130 speakers – among them Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner – talked about the future of smart products and services. Two topics garnered particular attention: smart cars and efficient services.
How can you teach a car to navigate its way through traffic autonomously? In the future, a Bosch onboard computer will provide the answer. Thanks to artificial intelligence (AI), the electronic brain is capable of applying machine learning processes. With the help of special sensors, the digital chauffeur interprets the behavior of other road users, and can thus predict hazardous situations in time. “Automated driving makes road traffic safer,” says Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management. “Artificial intelligence is the key to this. The car is getting smart.” At the very latest, onboard computers with AI will be ready for series production at the beginning of the next decade.
According to a market research study, by 2020 there will be 250 million connected vehicles on the world’s roads. For more than a quarter of all Germans, in-vehicle Internet access is already an important criterion when it comes to buying a car. “Services for connected cars are increasingly a distinguishing feature in the automotive industry,” says Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch board of management. With the Automotive Cloud Suite, Bosch presented a new platform for mobility services. It enables carmakers and service providers to develop a broad range of applications for the connected vehicle and bring these solutions to market. For instance, helpful services include systems that warn of wrong-way drivers or assist in the search for a parking spot. This not only helps make road traffic safe, it also helps reduce CO2 emissions by significantly shortening the search for a parking spot.
More information on Bosch ConnectedWorld can be found here.
This two-minute video provides an overview of the event.
Bosch is developing solutions for connected agriculture
According to a recent study published by the McKinsey Global Institute, the agricultural sector is currently one of the least digitized industries. Many farmers have yet to be convinced of the benefits of digital technology. This may be because available technology is often not adequately user friendly, and services usually cover only a fraction of a farmer’s needs. However, Bosch sees a great deal of potential for innovative solutions in agriculture, for instance in the areas of sustainable food production, packaging, and distribution – from the fields to the consumer’s plate.
In cooperation with “The Yield“, and Australian start-up, the company is showing how connected solutions can improve oyster farming in aquaculture. Sensors monitor the parameters that are critical for the oyster harvest, such as water temperature and salt content. Software records and analyzes data and then sends the results directly to the farmer’s smart phone. Based on this analysis, the farmer can determine the best possible moment for the harvest. Since oysters are filters that absorb water contaminants, they cannot be harvested if contaminant levels are too high, and this means that oyster farmers risk generating losses. With their joint project, “The Yield“ and Bosch have made it possible to increase the number of harvestable days by as much as 30 percent. In addition to hardware and software, Bosch has also provided the computing center required to collect and record data. As shareholder, the company has thus far invested more than two million euros in “The Yield”.
Bosch offers connected solutions in other areas of agriculture as well. For instance, connected wireless sensors help improve the yield of asparagus harvests. Moreover, with intelligent containers, Bosch is contributing to making the transport of goods more agile and efficient in the future. These containers can monitor the two-week sea voyage of bananas, for example.
Connected agriculture is one of the main topics at the Bosch Connected World conference, which is taking place until March 16. More information on the conference program can be found here.
More information on the cooperation between Bosch and “The Yield” can be found on the Bosch ConnectedWorld Blog.
Bosch and EnBW are developing new energy storage systems to stabilize the power grid
The energy turnaround not only means exploiting new sources of power, it also calls for innovative approaches to energy production. In addition to conventional power plants, a growing number of small producers are now appearing on the market. Wind and solar parks, cogeneration units, heat pumps, and biogas plants are now also feeding power into the public grid. Since the amount of energy that those facilities produce often depends on factors that cannot be controlled, such as wind and sunlight, energy storage solutions ensure that the power supply becomes constant and reliable. Bosch is developing such solutions for both energy providers and industrial companies.
At present, Bosch is driving a promising project forward together with EnBW, a German energy provider: At the EnBW power plant in Heilbronn, the company is planning an energy storage system that will make primary regulation energy available, thus offsetting short-term fluctuations in the grid. “The cooperation with EnBW is another important step toward establishing energy storage systems in the market and thus helping ensure the success of the energy turnaround,” says Cordelia Thielitz, the president of Bosch Energy Storage Solutions. Solutions like these not only ensure a reliable power supply, but furthermore contribute to making renewable sources of energy reliable and suitable for widespread use.
The energy storage system comprises 768 lithium-ion battery models and a maximum output of five megawatts with an installed storage capacity of five megawatt hours. The amount of power that the storage system receives and dispenses corresponds to the average consumption of about 400 two-person households. In a first step, the two companies will establish a joint project enterprise that will be in charge of planning, building, connecting, and operating the battery.
More information on the joint project between Bosch and EnBW can be found here (only in German available).