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Bosch study shows what connected mobility will make possible
After a long drive on the highway, the last thing drivers want is a surprise traffic jam around the next bend. And when they finally arrive at their destination, they may have to drive around searching for a parking spot in vain. While this is an all too common situation today, technology may well be a game changer in just a few years time. Highly automated vehicles will warn drivers of oncoming traffic jams and decelerate accordingly, and navigation systems will take over the task of searching for a parking spot at the driver’s destination. Moreover, drivers will no longer need to carry out parking maneuvers themselves – their parking assistance systems will do it for them. While this may still seem like science fiction, connected cars are already equipped with highly sensitive sensors. Via the Internet, they are constantly linked to different clouds.
In cooperation with the Prognos consultancy, Bosch examined the potential impact of automation on road traffic in the Connected Car Effect Study 2025. The two companies analyzed different technologies for personal mobility and their effects by 2025 in Germany, the United States, and China. The model used for the study was based on international vehicle fleet development statistics, accident data, and current research.
Fewer accidents and CO2 savings
Among other things, the study found that driving is becoming safer and more comfortable while vehicles are becoming more efficient. This is the result of technologies that are already well established: “The secret heroes of the connected revolution are the assistance and comfort systems that we are already familiar with,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. With the help of safety systems such as the ESP anti-skidding system and cloud-based functions, in the future about 260,000 accidents could be prevented in the three countries and some 400.000 tons of CO2 could be saved. Moreover, it will one day be possible to integrate smart phones into vehicle infotainment systems and thus offer web-based parking solutions.
For many years, Bosch experts have been developing solutions that not only make road traffic safer, they also increase the efficiency of vehicles. For instance, cloud-based solutions already draw on real-time data to help drivers avoid traffic jams or react to sudden hazards. The most recent example of connected technology is the active gas pedal, which was launched in 2016: with a knocking signal and noticeable vibrations, it not only promotes an energy-efficient driving style, it also warns drivers of dangerous situations.
More information on the Bosch “Connected Car Effect 2025” study can be found here.
When it comes to intelligent building technology, Bosch is expanding its expertise
The home of the future is smart: connected buildings not only make life more comfortable, they also score points for their energy efficiency. By networking technical equipment in commercial buildings and private households with connected building solutions, energy consumption can be reduced by as much as 40 percent. For Bosch, making the most of this potential marks the next major step toward becoming a one-stop shop for connected systems and services. With the takeover of Skyline Automation, an American specialist for building automation, the company is further expanding this promising business segment. Experts predict that the global market for intelligent building technology will grow from almost six billion dollars today to some 25 billion dollars by 2021.
Cutting costs and protecting the environment
Building automation benefits users in a number of ways. In addition to reducing energy consumption, connected homes protect the environment by automatically turning off the heat when a window is open, for instance. With more than 210,000 internet-enabled products sold, Bosch is already the leading provider of smart heating solutions. Via the “HomeCom” portal, installation companies receive information about their customers’ heating systems, including assessments of possible sources of error. End customers benefit from status updates about their systems, data related to energy consumption and individual energy saving tips. The offer has been well received: according to a Bosch and Twitter survey, 59 percent of German consumers considered energy efficiency to be the best argument in favor of a smart home. The respondents also saw improved comfort as a result of automated processes in a positive light. One in every ten respondents had already connected their homes, or were planning to do so in the future.
When it comes to implementing smart technologies, Bosch benefits from its comprehensive expertise in the realms of software and sensor technologies, as well as from its broad sectoral set-up. “We connect cars with houses, and even entire cities. Like no other company, Bosch brings technical expertise for many different types of devices to the table,” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH.
More information on intelligent buildings can be found here.
Bosch is involved in a number of research projects that focus on developing innovative energy storage concepts
By 2050, renewable sources of energy will cover more than 80 percent of energy needs. For this reason, offsetting the natural fluctuations in power generated by wind, the sun, and water will be decisive. Energy storage systems will play a central role in this regard. In cooperation with partners from business and science, Bosch is working on a number of pilot projects.
The BiLawE project: electric cars as intelligent energy storage systems
Currently a power bank for mobile phones, an electric vehicle’s battery storage system could one day become part of the power grid, receiving energy from renewable sources. In other words, whenever there is a surplus of energy from green energy sources, the batteries of connected vehicles would be charged. At the same time, the energy storage systems of electric vehicles could also feed energy back into the grid. As part of the publicly funded BiLaWe (bidirectional, inductive charging systems as efficient parts of the power grid) project, Bosch is currently collaborating with the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft to find out how this principle can be applied to develop a bidirectional charge system. “In order to master this task, electric vehicles must be connected to the power grid as often as possible and for as long as possible,” explains Philipp Schumann, a project manager at the Bosch research campus in Renningen. The project partners think that this requirement can be met with publicly accessible inductive charging stations. A vehicle that is located at such a station would be charged without contact via a magnetic field. Since it wouldn’t be necessary to connect the vehicle to the charging station with a cable, the vehicles would be more frequently linked to the energy source. The project is financed by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and is set to run for three years.
More information on inductive charging systems can be found here.
The “Battery Second Life” project: The rebirth of the car battery
A joint project between Vattenfall, BMW, and Bosch is focusing on the topic of stable power grids. To this end, 2,600 functional used batteries from electric vehicles were used in the development phase: they were connected to one another and turned into a large energy storage system. This system, which has been in operation in a test phase since September 2016, can make energy available within seconds, thus offsetting fluctuations in the power grid. Its capacity is sufficient to supply power to a an average two-person household for a period of seven months. The “Battery 2nd Life” project began in 2013 and is set to run for five years. Among other things, the aim is to make the new energy storage system a lasting part of the energy system.
More information on the energy storage project in Hamburg can be found here.
The DESS2020+ project: storing energy with hydrogen
The aim of the “District Energy Storage and Supply System 2020+” is to stop transporting power generated from renewable sources over large distances in the future. Here, too, opportunities for decentralized energy storage are a central focus. More specifically, Bosch and the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) are investigating how an enclosed residential area can be supplied with solar energy that is generated, stored, and consumed locally. The aim is to make energy available to some 100 households as well as to the owners of hydrogen-powered vehicles. To achieve this, the researchers are developing a system based on three core components: a proton exchange membrane electrolyzer (PEM electrolyzer), a fuel cell, and several hydrogen storage tanks. The interplay between them works like this: the PEM electrolyzer uses energy from renewable sources of energy to divide water into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen is stored in tanks and can be used at any time to operate the fuel cells. These, in turn, deliver heating energy for the connected building as required. In contrast to other energy sources, large amounts of hydrogen can be stored at a relatively low price, and this is a major advantage. What is more, it can contribute to eco-friendly mobility. A hydrogen dispenser could be installed at a location where fuel-cell powered vehicles could be filled within a few minutes. Set to run until 2018, the research project is part of the German Federal Ministry of the Economy and Energy’s “Research for an eco-friendly, reliable, and affordable energy supply” research project.
More information on new storage technology for green energy can be found here.
Automated driving is making heavy-duty trucks more efficient and safer
According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study entitled “The era of digitalized trucking: transforming the logistics value chain”, the trucks of the future could be more eco-friendly and more economical as automation gradually progresses.
Bosch solutions are also contributing to this progress, and thus helping make long-haul commercial traffic more sustainable. “Networked and automated commercial vehicles are the future, and we want to make a major contribution to shaping it,” said Dr. Markus Hayn, member of the Bosch board of management, at the 66th IAA Commercial Vehicles, during his presentation of the VisionX concept. Using a 40-ton truck as an example, the concept describes how the truck of the future could look. It will comprise cutting-edge technology and a hybrid drive, and will be partially automated.
VisionX makes platooning possible, meaning that a truck lines up in a convoy the moment it drives on the highway. The trucks are connected to one another, and can thus synchronize their acceleration, braking, and steering behavior. Moreover, via the Bosch IoT cloud, they can share information with each other on routes, traffic, and detours in real time. This makes it possible to reduce down time to a minimum, and to provide early warning of hazards and roadblocks. This, in turn, enables steady driving and helps avoid sudden braking and subsequent acceleration. At the same time, platooning technology makes it possible for trucks to drive up closer to the vehicles ahead, and this reduces aerodynamic drag. In this way, fuel savings of up to 11 percent will be possible in the future. According to the Bosch VisionX concept study, powertrain electrification is also contributing to making trucking more efficient, as it significantly increases the resource efficiency of long-haul travel.
More information on the VisionX concept study can be found here.
An innovative Bosch water injection system saves fuel and CO2
With the WaterBoost system, Bosch is the first and only automotive supplier to offer a water injection system for gasoline engines. The aim is to promote fuel savings, as even modern internal combustion systems consume up to a fifth of their fuel for engine cooling purposes. By injecting water, gas consumption can be noticeably reduced, especially in driving situations with high rpms. The trailblazing technology helps saves fuel especially in mid-sized vehicles with downsized engines. The BMW M4 GTS is the first series-produced vehicle to be equipped with the WaterBoost system.
The water injection technology is based on a simple principle. To ensure that the engine does not overheat, a fine water mist is sprayed into the intake passage before injection, which evaporates and ensures effective cooling. Water demand is low: a small additional tank filled with five liters of distilled water suffices for 3,000 kilometers. As a result, even when the car accelerates rapidly or is travelling on the highway, fuel consumption decreases by as much as 13 percent.
The new technology not only makes vehicles more eco-friendly, it also improves their performance. The ignition time occurs earlier and the optimized center of gravity leads to greater efficiency . As a result, the engine operates more efficiently and its performance is up to five percent better – for more horsepower with the same engine displacement and boost pressure. At the same time, the use of water protects the components in the engine’s interior and reduces knocking, which can damage the engine. Ultimately, the H2O engine promotes better performance and lower fuel consumption. For this reason, it definitely has a bright future.
More information on waterpower for gasoline engines can be found here.