Latest vision of the future comes from Germany and is headed to Vegas.
It's not just automakers that are working on self-driving vehicles. So are electronic companies and automotive suppliers. Like Bosch, for example, which is bringing this self-driving urban shuttle to CES next month.
The concept looks more like a glass gondola on wheels than it resembles any car on the road today. It incorporates four individual seats in two rows facing each other, with individual infotainment screens for each passenger and collective displays for all those on board. And it's powered by electric motors, of course. But this concept is more about what it can do than what it is.
Bosch is using the as-yet unnamed concept to showcase the hardware and (equally important) the services it will offer – not as much to the public as to other manufacturers and fleet operators.
The German electronic company will offer the charging services to keep the batteries topped up, the digital maps to automatically navigate the roads, the software to book and access the vehicles, the onboard diagnostics to keep the vehicles in working condition and monitor their energy usage, and the cameras to monitor the cleanliness of the vehicles' interiors (and to detect if passengers have left anything behind).
The list goes on and on, and Bosch wants to provide it all. “Bosch is developing a unique package of hardware, software, and mobility services for shuttle mobility of the future,” said Bosch executive Dr. Markus Heyn. “In the future, every vehicle on the road will make use of Bosch digital services.”
That's some big claim, but the company's in prime position to lead the mobility revolution. One of Europe's largest automotive suppliers and electronics companies, Bosch has over 400,000 employees working at 440 offices around the world – including its home base in Stuttgart, right next to Porsche and Mercedes.