By T Murrali:
Bosch Group, a leading global supplier of technology and services, uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, services, and its own IoT cloud to offer its customers cross-domain solutions from a single source. The foresight and digital technologies of the group can change the lives it touches. Over the past years, Bosch in India has transformed its business units and trained its people for a connected future. The company continues to support the vehicle manufacturers to overcome the challenges in complying with emission norms and to manage security threats on account of the increasing role of electronics and software in vehicles. In an interaction with AutoParts Asia, Guruprasad Mudlapur, Regional President and Managing Director, Bosch Automotive Electronic India Private Limited, shared information about the offerings from Bosch to the automotive customers. Edited excerpts:
Q: The dynamics of the automotive industry globally and in India has been changing because of new regulations. How does electronics help manage these changes?
Mudlapur: Electronics play a critical role in managing compliance, be it for safety or for emission. Breakthrough technologies from Bosch enable vehicle manufacturers to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides (NOx), even beyond the proposed BS-VI norms. The roll-out of BS-VI (Euro-6) norms mandated in India by the government is pushing automotive manufacturers to update their existing emission control mechanisms. Electronics always plays a vital role in vehicle emission control and with the new age computerized engine management systems Bosch has been successful in cleaning the exhaust. Electronic control units (ECUs) are at the heart of the system which allows vehicles to meet the new emission regulations. Bosch offers the full range of engine management systems. The ECUs which we have developed is for use in diesel and gasoline engines as well as for those using alternative fuels. Similarly, Bosch designs and manufactures a range of ECUs for Anti-lock Braking Systems (ABS) that ensures safety of the vehicle during braking.
Q: By 2026, there will be about 40 percent electronics and 25 percent software systems in an automobile. How does Bosch prepare itself to contribute to this evolution?
Mudlapur: ‘Invented for Life’ has been at the core of what we do at Bosch. We spend 10 percent of our annual revenue on R&D and by number of engineers India is our largest R&D centre outside Germany. Our approach to technology has been for improving quality of life. Bosch is not focused solely on laws, but also on values, in other words, we want to do more than we are required to. Given the importance of human need for mobility in the current economy and life style, the key focus areas driving our mobility vision are Emission Free, Accident Free and Stress Free.
System design comprises various sub-disciplines of electric/electronic system development, including E/E architecture, networking, the on-board energy network, energy management strategies, electromagnetic compatibility analysis and validation, as well as integration and testing of the electronic components and subsystems. The demands on E/E systems in modern vehicles are rising steadily. As the number of systems in the on-board network continues to grow, the increasing exchange of data through vehicle connectivity must also be managed reliably. Bosch development services for E/E systems not only help fulfill the highest safety requirements, but also contribute to the powertrain’s efficiency and the comfort of today’s vehicles.
Furthermore, they create a basis for additional, innovative features, such as remote diagnostics and software updates over the air. E/E systems play a critical role in the efficiency of electrified powertrains. For example, connecting the powertrain to the navigation system enables intelligent energy management. Based on the route calculated, it determines the optimum battery charge and also gauges when the internal-combustion engine needs to be supplied with additional torque from the electric motor when driving uphill. Recuperation – brake energy for free – can be applied most effectively during the following downhill stretches. This is how E/E systems and energy management help save fuel, maximise range, and reduce emissions. Bosch is also heavily investing in manufacturing of automotive electronics for the local market and wishes to be a supplier of choice to the OEMs.
Q: For the past few years there has been talks on Connected, Safe and Green mobility. What kind of solutions does Bosch provide for these new mobility initiatives?
Mudlapur: Bosch goes beyond a narrow view of the vehicle in isolation to develop innovative and flexible concepts for related areas. New mobility services are about to transform fundamentally the way we move. Thanks to connectivity Bosch is already active in many different ways in these future fields like cloud-based technologies, smart software, and the everyday challenges such as finding a parking space, charging electric cars, or car-sharing. There are many options for reducing emissions and improving air quality. One of them is the steady expansion of electro-mobility. Given that a significant proportion of urban transport will be electrically powered in the future, Bosch is pulling out all the stops to drive forward this development. Hybrid powertrains also provide future-proof solutions. The range of the locally emission-free, fully electric powertrain components is sufficient to meet mobility demands in the central city areas, while an optimised combustion engine is ready to spring into action as needed when driving longer distances.
The Government of India’s policy think-tank, Niti Aayog, has proposed a slew of initiatives to boost the nation’s transformation towards electric mobility. We at Bosch India have kicked off several strategic internal initiatives to meet future demands from our customers. One such initiative is ‘Project House – Electrification’ (PJ-EL). At the Bosch Technology Exposition held in New Delhi earlier in 2018, we showcased the first demonstration of an all-electric car with Bosch system. The system was engineered locally in Bengaluru. Bosch India’s approach has been to provide a diverse set of solutions, including business models made for the local market in alignment with the divisions at Robert Bosch GmbH. In this spirit, the project house is formed through a team of cross functional specialists from Bosch entities in India. This agile team would be working on prototype development and system integration to enable introduction of electro-mobility solutions tailored to the needs of India. The project house approach will help Bosch to increase its competency locally to be able to supply customised technologies for flexible, affordable and efficient mobility.
Another field of growth in India’s thriving automotive industry is the rising demand for connected mobility. Bosch continues to drive forward its transformation into a provider of mobility services. The company recently established a Connected Mobility Solutions team to develop and sell digital mobility services.
We are working towards developing and manufacturing a global telematics platform including hardware that will be enabled and operated by local engineering talent. This platform will help Bosch to better serve its customer base in India with effective solutions designed for effective mobility. The key offerings will include vehicle sharing, ridesharing, and connectivity-based services for car drivers.
We also have our teams building solutions for two-wheeler and three-wheeler powertrains for India and through this we cover the entire gamut of electrification requirements for the Indian market.
Q: Electronics in IC engine helps improve performance, fuel efficiency and emissions. Can you tell us about the solutions and technologies from your end that help OEMs accomplish these objectives?
Mudlapur: In the future, Bosch sees electric vehicles co-existing with ICE propelled by diesel, gasoline and alternative fuels such as natural gas, ethanol and its blends. As in many other parts of the world, we see hybrids as the important bridge towards electric vehicles. BS-VI mandates emission standards, type approval requirements, and on board diagnostics (OBD). The Bosch India Unit has filed many patents for various innovations in the automobile space along with the BS-VI emission standards. Euro-6 technology is available in Europe, but that has to work in Indian requirements and conditions. So, a lot of innovations are happening to meet this emission standard.
Let’s talk about solutions for the two-wheeler market where we see a lot of potential especially in India. Bosch offers the full range of engine management systems’ technologies specially designed for two-wheelers. These include components for fuel injection and supply, air management, ignition and exhaust-gas treatment and engine control units. The engine control unit manages requirements concerning the engine operation such as rider’s demand or exhaust-system demands. Torque is used as the key criterion for implementing all requirements. The air-fuel ratio is adjusted to provide the torque as efficiently as possible. The engine control unit is the central intelligence behind all this. It is also able to manage upcoming features such as on board diagnosis (OBD), start/stop, ISO 26262 and knock control. Emission regulations are thus fulfilled for BS-VI norms.
Q: IoT has begun playing a major role in manufacturing, while IT and software help reduce development time of vehicles besides helping in data management, product lifecycle management and driver behaviour analysis. Can you share your experience on these technologies?
Mudlapur: IoT is changing how we live, work, and get around — homes are becoming smarter, factories more productive, and mobility is taking a fundamentally new form. Following its ‘Invented for Life’ ethos, Bosch is constantly developing new ways of applying connectivity that will make all aspects of life easier. Industry 4.0 is when factories can be adapted to the constantly evolving requirements and learn independently at the same time. For Bosch, the secret here is to combine the best of people, data, and machines and while artificial intelligence and advanced machine learning algorithms make processes simpler, more efficient, and more flexible, people still have full control over everything that happens.
We have a special focus on Industry 4.0 applications for our shop floor requirements. We have designed our framework to combine smart operations and smart campus to realise our smart factory mission. We are at the forefront of digitalisation in India and have been recognised as the Future-Ready factory for 2018 by Frost and Sullivan for IMEA (India Manufacturing Excellence Awards).
Another example of an effective IoT solution developed by us is the ‘TEP120’ automatic emergency call system. This is a milestone in the path to greater road safety. The vehicle’s connectivity hardware reports a detected accident and its location automatically to the emergency call centre, which then immediately informs the emergency services.
This enables first responders to arrive at the scene more quickly, even in situations in which accident victims are unable to call for help themselves. We have also developed transport data logger which makes delivery process visible, traceable for manufacturers, logistics and supply chain.
This smart telematics device is now available on Amazon India store for all and has been getting very good reviews.
Q: Can you share your company’s contribution to ensure security challenges for the OEMs as every vehicle is getting connected to other vehicles and infrastructure?
Mudlapur: As cars become more and more connected and vehicle cyber security concerns increase, it’s clear this is no longer a problem of the future—vehicle security is a big concern right now. For connected vehicles, unauthorised access and third-party manipulation must be prevented at all times. Bosch offers robust, integrated security strategies featuring hardware and software solutions that guarantee data security. OEMs are focusing on connected software in cars and upgrading their service networks to deal with the change in upgrading OEM’s existing service network.
Bosch has been a trusted partner to OEMs in software development for ECUs and diagnostics for many years. What is more, Bosch has greatly expanded the scope of its IoT and data mining expertise in recent years. With this knowhow, the vehicle management platform offers a customer-specific, modular, hardware-independent and secure access/communication channel into the vehicle, in order to enable cloud-based services such as predictive diagnostics and FOTA – Firmware Over-the-Air – throughout the entire vehicle life cycle. The vehicle management platform enables vehicle connectivity and cloud-based services from development to volume production. The software and infrastructure platform thus provides secure access to vehicle data from anywhere, and enables remote firmware updates.
One example would be Intelligent transport management system or iTraMS, an end-to-end telematics solution, which provides transportation solutions to OEMs, logistics, fleets and vehicle owners. This Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) ecosystem is designed to address the challenges of modern-day transportation and management of vehicles across segments like passenger cars, construction/agriculture equipment, commercial vehicles etc. iTraMS enables customers across mobility and transportation segments to benefit from the power of connected solutions and the value of insights derived using analytics. In addition, Bosch has developed products like Central Gateways and keyless entry systems with advanced security mechanisms that ensure security at all times.