Man’s World

Bosch: future mobility is a driverless electric shuttle

Shuttle Bosch

A spacious, minimalist shell, with generous display, extensive glazing and room interiors. The driverless electric shuttle by Bosch represents an entirely new class of vehicles, and a new frontier for mobility. The concept is that of autonomous vehicles that circulate silently in city centres, seamlessly connected to the urban infrastructure. We will soon see these vehicles in our cities, and they will be used to transport both goods and people. The implementation of this project requires a whole series of ancillary mobility services, on which Bosch is working, incorporating them into an intelligent, perfectly connected ecosystem that includes platforms for booking, sharing, networking, parking and loading areas, software for vehicle management and maintenance, and the infotainment services used during the trip.

Concentrated technology

The growth of the shuttle sector is powered by the increasing demand for ride-sharing services: according to the analysts at Roland Berger, by 2020 there will be about a million on-demand shuttles on the roads of Europe, the United States and China, reaching 2.5 million by 2025. Many of these vehicles, available around the clock every day of the year, will be totally electric, and they will become wholly driverless by 2025. For this reason, Bosch has used every square centimetre of its prototype, filling it with the latest technology, comprising the electric propulsion power plants, 360° environmental sensors, connectivity management and on-board IT systems. But these components and systems are just a part of the on-board technology of these vehicles of the future. To make these on-demand vehicles suitable for everyday use, they will have to be interconnected with integrated mobility services.

The smartphone becomes a digital fingerprint

Passengers will be able to book a shuttle using their smartphone, wherever they are. The system’s algorithm will locate the vehicle closest to the user’s position, and it will also find other individuals who wish to take a similar route. The more passengers on each shuttle, the less the trip will cost for all of them. When the shuttle reaches the required rendez-vous, the passengers will use their smartphone to identify themselves, by means of the Perfectly Keyless digital access system that recognizes a passenger’s smartphone as if it were a digital fingerprint, granting exclusive access to the vehicle and implementing the various bookings. The prototype has space for four passenger, two pairs facing each other. The infotainment screens can be used individually or collectively. Connectivity is provided by the on-board Wi-Fi which is perfectly integrated with infotainment systems.

Alessandro Vai