Your high-tech toaster on wheels has arrived

The 2019 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is just around the corner, and it comes as no surprise that the latest and greatest forward-thinking car concepts are just now trickling across our collective desks. The latest comes from Bosch, with this odd-looking all-electric, fully autonomous shuttle that promises big things for the future.

Is This The Future Of Transportation?

This Funky Little Electric People Mover from Bosch Will Debut at the Consumer Electronics Show
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In case you were unaware, Bosch is a global engineering and electronics company based out of Stuttgart, Germany. It offers a variety of products for not just the automotive sphere, but also for air transportation, stadiums, hotel facilities, the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, and the mining industry.

Long story short, Bosch is enormous and has a ton of resources it can draw upon, which makes it well-positioned to create the innovative and all-inclusive transportation solution you find outlined here.

Indeed, Bosch hopes for nothing less than the integration of its various digital services into “every vehicle on the road” in the future. This also includes an “ecosystem of mobility services” to suit a variety of needs and users. However, one of the biggest and most visible innovations will be its proposed fleet of electrified shuttles to get people from A to B.

This Funky Little Electric People Mover from Bosch Will Debut at the Consumer Electronics Show
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Created as a response to the rapid rise of ride sharing services, this new concept could very well replace Uber and Lyft in one fell swoop.

As such, the concept is primarily focused on function over form. And that’s pretty obvious just by looking at it - to my eyes, its got the aesthetic of a toaster on wheels, if I’m honest.

That minimalism in the design carried over to the interior as well, where we find a wide, open space filled with pristine white surfaces, lots of screens, and plenty of glass. The interior is designed to accommodate up to four passengers, and comes with a seating arrangement that orients customers face to face as a means to maximize comfort and the available legroom.

Bosch also points out that the platform could be adapted to suit other commercial needs and transport goods, not just people.

Back to the people mover.

This Funky Little Electric People Mover from Bosch Will Debut at the Consumer Electronics Show
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Inside, you’ll notice an array of infotainment screens, which can be used for both individual and group use.

Or, as Bosch puts it, “a family can watch a movie together as they travel somewhere for the weekend, or colleagues can work on a presentation on their way to the office.”

What’s more, passengers can connect their smartphones to the onboard Wi-Fi and interface with the various infotainment systems directly from their personal devices. After arriving at their destination, customers can use Bosch’s proprietary e-payment service to pay for the trip.

Bosch goes even further, proposing an all-inclusive system that also bundles together “booking, sharing, and networking platforms, parking and charging services, and software solutions for managing and maintaining the vehicles, as well as infotainment during the journey.”

Potential customers will have 24/7 access to the ride service, with users downloading a smartphone app to identify their specified pick-up point and identify themselves as the intended passenger. The app can even reserve certain seats, if desired.

This Funky Little Electric People Mover from Bosch Will Debut at the Consumer Electronics Show
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To make it go, the concept uses a fully-electric powertrain. Again, there’s no driver - this thing is 100 percent autonomous.

As such, the concept comes outlined with a full gamut of sensors to read the surrounding environment and successfully navigate through it, such as radar, video, and ultrasonic sensors.

The concept also connects using Bosch’s Convenience Charging service, which can identify when the vehicle needs to be plugged in, while also monitoring power drains like heating and air conditioning systems. The system also includes active monitoring of the current traffic conditions and weather forecasts, and will actively work to maximize efficiency around those ever-changing constraints.

Bosch also imagines an onboard camera system that checks to make sure a passenger doesn’t leave any personal items behind. If an item is left on the shuttle, the system will automatically send them a message to let them know as such. The same camera system can also identify when the shuttle needs to be cleaned.

Finally, over-the-air software updates keep the shuttle up to date with the latest patches, while a range of predictive tech can identify when the system needs some maintenance work. Bosch is also looking to implement route planning and administrative duties with the system.

Are Autonomous Electrified Shuttles A Good Idea?

This Funky Little Electric People Mover from Bosch Will Debut at the Consumer Electronics Show
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Bosch cites Roland Berger with speculation that by 2020, roughly a million of these on-demand shuttle buses will hit the road in the U.S., Europe, and China.

That number could go as high as 2.5 million by 2025.

We think that seems pretty ambitious. While electric powertrains, interconnected systems, and autonomous technology are indeed all developing at an ever-increasing rate, there are still a number of hurdles to overcome.

We think the real linch pin has to be the autonomous tech - without it, none of this is possible.

While we do see some pretty impressive battery technology, electric drive technology, and information service technology already on the market, autonomous tech still has a long way to go before it can be trusted to navigate through a busy city environment without any human overseer checking in on it every so often.

Bosch and Daimler Will Conduct Public Testing for New Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service in San Jose CA
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Granted, testing is already underway, but in terms of large-scale implementation of a finalized system, I think we’re at least another five years away.

Not that I’m not hopeful. This sort of technology promises a heap of benefits, including a major reduction in congestion in major metropolitan areas, as well as a reduction in pollution and emissions. Then there’s the safety side of it as well - fewer drunk drivers, fewer tired drivers, and more.

Of course, no technology is without its drawbacks.

In this case, an over-reliance on connected services could cause some major disruptions if a critical system goes down, and the electricity grid would get taxed in a major way with so many new electric shuttles plugged into it. Then there’s the legal issues - who’s at fault if one of these shuttles crashes into another vehicle or even a pedestrian?

These are all questions we’ll need to answer in the next decade or sooner as companies race to become the next big thing in self-driving automotive technology.

Which begs the question - how do you feel about this technology, dear reader? Is it appealing, or appalling? Let us know in the comments section below.

Further Reading

Bosch and Daimler Will Conduct Public Testing for New Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service in San Jose CA
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Bosch And Daimler Will Conduct Public Testing For New Autonomous Ride-Hailing Service In San Jose.

Tesla Model S Drove On Autopilot and Saved The Drunk Driver's Life
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Tesla Model S Drove On Autopilot And Saved The Drunk Driver’s Life.

Breaking: Uber-Branded, Self-Driving Car Strikes and Kills a Pedestrian
- image 774350

Uber Planning To Revive Its Self-Driving Car Program With The Help Of A Former NHTSA Official.

Debut of new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Bosch management board member Dr. Markus Heyn: “In the future, every vehicle on the road will make use of Bosch digital services.”
The Bosch ecosystem of mobility services makes shuttle mobility flexible and suitable for everyday use.
Bosch is developing systems and components for automating, connecting, and electrifying shuttles.
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Stuttgart, Germany – A light, airy, minimalistic design, a futuristic outer shell made of display screens and glass, and a spacious interior – that is how architects might describe a novel structure, but in actuality the description also fits a completely new class of vehicle and a new kind of mobility: driverless electric shuttles that glide almost silently through city centers and are seamlessly connected with their environment. These will soon be a common sight on our city streets – whether they are transporting goods or people. Bosch provides components and systems for automating, connecting, and electrifying the shuttles, but shuttle mobility won’t be possible without mobility services. In the future, the company will offer these services too, bundling them into a smart, seamlessly connected ecosystem. That will include booking, sharing, and networking platforms, parking and charging services, and software solutions for managing and maintaining the vehicles, as well as infotainment during the journey. “Bosch is developing a unique package of hardware, software, and mobility services for shuttle mobility of the future,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. At CES 2019 in Las Vegas, the world’s biggest electronics show, Bosch will be presenting its solutions for this area of transportation with a concept shuttle, and visitors will be able to experience its full range of services.

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Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas
Debut of Bosch’s new concept shuttle at CES 2019 in Las Vegas

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“ Bosch is developing a unique package of hardware, software, and mobility services for shuttle mobility of the future. ”

Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH
Bosch services for users and shuttle operators
The emergence of the shuttle segment is a result of rising demand for ridesharing services: in Europe, the U.S., and China alone, about one million such on-demand shuttle buses will be on the roads as early as the year 2020, growing to 2.5 million by 2025 (source: Roland Berger). Many of these vehicles, available 24/7, will be fully electric, and they will also be completely autonomous by the middle of the next decade at the latest. That’s why Bosch has packed every square centimeter of its concept shuttle with the appropriate technology – from electric powertrains and 360-degree surround sensors to connectivity management and vehicle computers. Yet these components and systems go only part of the way towards shuttle mobility. To make on-demand vehicles suitable for flexible everyday use, they must be connected to mobility services. “In the future, every vehicle on the road will make use of Bosch digital services,” Heyn says. These services allow users to book the vehicles, share rides with other passengers, and pay for the journey. Charging, repairing, and maintaining the vehicles, plus route planning and administrative activities, also call for services that Bosch will offer shuttle fleet operators in a seamlessly connected ecosystem.

“ In the future, every vehicle on the road will make use of Bosch digital services. ”

Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH
Booking and sharing
Users can easily book a shuttle via smartphone, regardless of whether they’re relaxing on the sofa or sitting at their desk at work. Working behind the scenes, an algorithm identifies the vehicle closest to the requested location and finds other users who wish to travel a similar route. The more passengers a single shuttle can transport, the cheaper the journey for everyone. This approach also reduces the amount of traffic in cities and mitigates the impact on the environment. Bosch is developing the necessary software platforms to make this a reality. When the shuttle pulls up to the requested pick-up point, users again use their smartphones to identify themselves – thanks to Bosch’s Perfectly Keyless digital access service. It recognizes the owner’s smartphone as unmistakably as a digital fingerprint and opens the vehicle only for them. Every passenger always gets the seat that they reserved.

Moving forward: electrified and automated
Bosch’s electric axle drive makes the shuttles especially efficient yet affordable as they wend their way through the city. And the company’s Convenience Charging service knows just how long the battery charge will last and where to recharge the vehicle. This service means that even today, drivers no longer need to worry about being stranded with a dead battery. It also links vehicle information, such as the current state of battery charge or how much energy the heating and air-conditioning systems are consuming, with environmental data such as congestion and weather forecasts, so as to predict vehicle range with particular accuracy. Furthermore, Convenience Charging finds the ideal charging station and can reserve it in advance. And thanks to a standardized access and payment system, charging is easier than ever.

Driverless e-shuttles provide users with transportation that is not only nearly emissions-free, but also very safe. For automation, Bosch develops and makes its own radar, video, and ultrasonic sensors, braking control systems, and power steering, to name a few examples. Smart digital services are indispensable here, too: Bosch predictive road-condition services let automated vehicles know in advance what environmental conditions to expect. They can thus adapt their driving style as needed so as to ensure maximum safety throughout the journey. The Bosch road signature is a map-based localization service with which automated vehicles can accurately determine their position in the lane down to a few centimeters – another crucial prerequisite for the safety of automated shuttles.

Comfortable interior
Bosch has designed the interior of its concept vehicle to provide space for four passengers, seating them across from one another to maximize legroom and comfort. Infotainment is provided on screens that can be used either by each passenger individually or in groups; for example, a family can watch a movie together as they travel somewhere for the weekend, or colleagues can work on a presentation on their way to the office. Smartphones use the on-board Wi-Fi and can integrate seamlessly with the infotainment system, thanks to Bosch connectivity technology. Its concierge service turns the shuttle into a personal assistant. With all kinds of information at its disposal, the shuttle can provide passengers with recommendations, advance bookings, weather reports, and travel tips at any time. Once the shuttle has arrived at its destination, the passengers can pay for their journey with Bosch’s e-payment service.

Maintenance and administrative activities
But Bosch services do not end when a rideshare journey is over: the company’s camera-based system for the vehicle interior checks whether anyone has forgotten their phone or handbag. If a passenger does forget something, the shuttle informs them directly via smartphone. The cameras can also detect gum on the seat or an overturned coffee cup – in other words, whether the shuttle needs cleaning – and can make the necessary arrangements immediately. This is so every passenger can start their journey in a clean shuttle. Bosch’s service for over-the-air updates can determine whether the driverless shuttles have the latest software version. The service detects software updates as soon as they are available and executes them in the vehicle securely and reliably. Thanks to sensors installed in the vehicle, predictive diagnostics can monitor the condition of key components and notify the shuttle before a fault actually occurs, so it has enough time to drive itself to a repair shop. This prevents the car from suddenly breaking down, which is a boon to operators. In the future, Bosch will pool updates from the data cloud and predictive diagnostics into a comprehensive connectivity platform. This will give vehicle manufacturers and shuttle service operators a constant overview of the condition of their fleets, so they can ensure that their shuttles are always ready for action. And finally, the Bosch subsidiary ESCRYPT’s security solutions handle vehicle security – whether for keyless access systems, data connectivity with the outside world, or software updates.

Tags: connected services, mobility services, IoT, CES, connected mobility, connectivity

More information
Contact person for press inquiries:
Annett Fischer,
phone: +49 711 811-6282,
twitter: @Annett__Fischer

Bosch at CES 2019

PRESS CONFERENCE: In Ballrooms B, C, and D, Mandalay Bay Hotel, Las Vegas South Convention Center, Level 2, from 9:00 to 9:45 a.m. local time on Monday, January 7, 2019
BOOTH: Tuesday to Friday, January 8–11, 2019, in the Central Hall, booth #14020
FOLLOW the Bosch CES 2019 highlights on Twitter: #BoschCES

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