3 min

During the Bosch press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the main focus was on the self-driving car, or self-driving shuttle. In this whole story, an important figure came to the fore. Research has revealed an expectation that next year, there will be 1 million shuttles around the world that can be ordered on-demand via an app. Just like a Uber.

Most people are familiar with the Bosch brand. In some cases of tools, another may have a dishwasher of the brand. Secretly, however, Bosch is a very big player in the automotive industry. The company develops a huge number of car parts, from ignition coils to brake discs. In this role, the company has been focusing on the future of the automotive industry for several years now.

Everything you need for self- driving shuttles

Bosch now claims to have all the technology to put self- driving vehicles on the road, but the company has a clear vision to do this not independently but with partners. It has always had many car manufacturers as partners, and they don’t just want to get rid of it. It even adds a lot of new partners. For example, Tesla is a fairly new manufacturer that also belongs to Bosch’s partner base.

Whereas many other technology companies use the term ‘self-driving car’, at Bosch, they consciously avoid it. After all, the company talks about ‘self-driving shuttles’, which in our view offers a much better image of the future. After all, if all cars become self- driving, why should you still be sitting in a vehicle in the traditional way? Why not completely redesign that vehicle so that people can do other things, such as work, watch movies or play a game? So Bosch is talking about a future with self- driving shuttles. And let’s be clear right away, this is the near future.

In 2020, the self-driving shuttle will become commonplace.

By 2020, there will be 1 million self-drivingshuttles worldwide that can be ordered on-demand. This is the conclusion of a study by KPMG from which Bosch quotes. If there are 1 million shuttles on the road, probably only in very large cities around the world, we can already call them commonplace. After that, it’s only a matter of time before smaller cities will join.

At Bosch, they assume that by 2020 we will already see separate lanes for these self-drivingshuttles so that they can move around the city quickly and prevent traffic jams. All shuttles that Bosch are designing will become electric and will move around the city silently and without emissions.

Large investments from the business community

Bosch also expects to add many new partners. Research shows that, mainly because the market for mobility services is huge, it will be worth around $160 billion by 2022. These are huge sums of money, which makes it attractive for companies to invest in the construction and realization of this type of service.

When we finally get to the point where we can get rid of our car because the self-drivingshuttles have made it superfluous, then there will also be a huge budget that will move back towards the mobility services. In an average family, between 300 and 1000 euros per month go to car(s) costs; directly or indirectly, via an employer. With a partnered company, Bosch is also working on a rideshare platform for employers so that they can buy rides on a large scale for their employees.

Bosch invests in fuel cells

Bosch believes in the future of electric vehicles, but the company is not yet convinced by current battery technology. The company is working on fuel cells, with various partners, because according to Bosch, they have a better future than electric cars. Bosch is probably looking for a solution in the area of hydrogen-based fuel cells. Oxygen and hydrogen are combined to form a chemical reaction that can be converted into electricity. This also would make cars much easier to recharge than in the case of batteries. However, many companies are working on this, but the really big breakthrough is not yet in sight. Perhaps this will change in the coming years.