Connected cars which are a result of an integration of smart phones
with a vehicle are now becoming a way of life all over the world. How has this
trend picked up in India especially among vehicle manufacturers in India?
Obviously, the needs and demands in India are much different as compared to
those abroad; is RBEI developing a package especially for the Indian market?
The most obvious form of
connected cars as we know today stems from the integration of smartphones to
the infotainment system of a car. It is only natural that with more than 100
million smartphones and 2.5 million passenger cars sold every year the trend of
smartphone integration in the Indian market is set to increase. Bosch has been
a pioneer in introducing latest trends in the Indian market. We were the first
in India to introduce the basic smartphone integration features like hands free
call, contacts download and music streaming almost a decade back. We continue
this trend. We introduced the first OE infotainment system with Apple Carplay
in Indian market. Bosch ensures that these technologies are adapted to the
Indian markets along with the introduction in the European markets as the
essential needs in India regarding smartphone integration is not hugely
different from the rest of the world. This does not mean that there are no
demands that are unique to India. As new roads are being laid and more
townships gets constructed every year, the need for up-to-date maps and POIs
(points of interest) can easily be delivered through connectivity.
The bigger picture of
connected cars involves much more than smartphone integration. There are many
more use cases like emergency detection and assistance, preventive maintenance
through remote diagnosis, software updates over the air and driver assistance
functionalities. Bosch views the car as a third living space and a personal
assistant. RBEI is working on all these technologies for global market needs in
collaboration with the Bosch entities in the respective regions. Of course we
develop and customise solutions for Indian market.
At the recently concluded Auto Expo in India, Robert Bosch showcased
few innovations in this area. What were they? What was the public perception
about it? Were they able to understand and appreciate the new age technology?
Imagine a single technology
that can reduce a vehicle’s fuel consumption, foresee when maintenance is
needed, and display everything on the car owner’s smartphone. Bosch has
developed a comprehensive connectivity platform solution which can do all that
– a solution, moreover, that is tailored to the Indian market. In line with its
“in the region-for-the-region” strategy, Bosch presented its Intelligent
Transport Management System (iTraMS) at the Bosch’s Technology Exposition in
Noida on February 3, 2016. Its features include tracking of vehicle location,
condition monitoring, and performance analysis. The flexible new Bosch solution
works in passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and off highway vehicles. iTraMS
is not only available in newly produced cars, but also as a retrofit solution.
By making it available for as many vehicles as possible, Bosch is helping to
speed up the transition to safer and more ecological driving.
Another outstanding example
for local development is Bosch’s “e-Call”, which was developed with
contributions by the Bosch India engineering team. It truly resonates with the
companies “Invented for life” ethos. Vehicles equipped with the safety system
trigger an automated emergency call whenever a crash happens. Using data-mining
techniques, the solution considers variables such as real-time vehicle-,
accident, and environment information to estimate the probability of severe
injury. This information can be used by emergency service providers to prioritise
the type of ambulance service needed to reach an accident location.
Bosch’s mySPIN is a highly
appealing smartphone integration solution that creates a perfect device-vehicle
link to ensure safe and reliable in-car use. It allows users to continue using
their preferred apps on their iOS or Android smartphones in the usual way,
without having to compromise on safety. mySPIN also facilitates continuous
access to online music services, social networks, and a wide range of
What are the various features and functions that can be offered to
consumers through this smart phone integration? These also differ when it comes
to cars, trucks and off highway vehicles….can you elaborate?
Smartphone integration brings
in seamless digital experience by bringing your favourite smartphone apps to
the car enabling the driver and the passengers to stay connected with family
and friends at the same time ensuring driving safety. These apps are adapted
for safe use while driving – information is reduced to the essential minimum
and the user interface is driven using the car’s build in touchscreen and
In addition, connectivity to
infrastructure using mobile communication technology opens up a plethora of
applications that make driving comfortable and convenient, for example, real-time
traffic information and up-to-date information on POIs.
The scenario in commercial
vehicles is different. On board connectivity control units help to achieve
optimised trip plan, fleet utilisation, fuel efficiency, and maintenance costs.
The unit can also monitor the driver behaviour which opens up unique business
models for the Insurance companies. For example a fleet manager in logistics
can monitor and control the temperature inside a refrigerated truck that
transport perishable goods. Connected applications in off highway vehicles are
primarily related to asset management and preventive maintenance, making sure
that expensive assets are made use of in the most efficient way.
In connected cars what are the different hardware parts that come into
play? Does RBEI make the hardware too?
If not where do you source it from? Do connected vehicles also involve a major
tweaking of the electrical / electronic architecture of a vehicle?
At the basic level, the
central component is the infotainment system which is connected to smartphones
using short range, wired or wireless technologies like USB or Bluetooth. The
smartphone acts as the telecommunication gateway. There is an emerging trend of
an exclusive connectivity control unit that has a built-in telecommunication
and GPS module. In both cases these units are connected to the vehicles
communication network to gather and process information from various other ECUs
(Electronic Control Units) and sensors. Bosch designs the necessary hardware
and software in house and manufactures them in Bosch facilities across the
world. The existing vehicle network architecture supports connectivity to
achieve basic features. The major evolution of architecture is taking place due
to parallel trends like ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) leading to
automated driving. The needs of connectivity is inherently taken care in this
transition. This change demands high levels of security over connected
infrastructure so that the vehicles are not vulnerable to external threats and
the data is well protected.
When it comes to global trends in connected cars, does it differ from
region to region? For example a vehicle sold in the US differ in its
connected-car offerings as compared to a vehicle available in India?
The trends in connected cars
across the world are different primarily with respect to the stages of
adoption, nature of usage and culture. Offerings usually depend on ecosystems
specific to a market like communication network, traffic and parking management
systems. The trend is more towards generic smartphone integration where the
in-car unit depends only on the interaction with smartphone and not on the
content. As an example, a head unit that supports Apple CarPlay can work with
Apple iPhones across the world. Car Play certified devices by Bosch are already
offered in the Indian market. Although many customised applications are
available for smartphone integrated head units in India, services like
real-time traffic information, weather information etc. are not as mature here
at the moment as it is in the US or Europe, but we see fast changing trends.
Lastly, can you map your role in the Indian Connected Car market? Do
give us a brief on your local development skills and progress w.r.t. R&D
RBEI as an R&D centre for
Bosch works on all the latest technologies related to connected cars for local
as well as global markets. We have an exclusive career path for the engineers
to grow as technology leaders. Our technology experts are architecting some of
the latest products and generating IPs. Our expertise in domains like
Smartphone integration, HMI (Human Machine Interface), sensor technologies,
video and graphics, Internet of Things and Big Data enables us to develop
products for the exciting field of connectivity in automotive.