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Automating your car has become a big part of Bosch’s $8 billion business

Bosch, Daimler, and car2go agreed in June 2015 to develop technology that will allow cars to automatically drive to a pick-up point via a smartphone app.Bosch, Daimler, and car2go agreed in June 2015 to develop technology that will allow cars to automatically drive to a pick-up point via a smartphone app.
Bosch, Daimler, and car2go agreed in June 2015 to develop technology that will allow cars to automatically drive to a pick-up point via a smartphone app.

Demand for driver assistance and safety features as well as connected and electrified cars is boosting sales of Robert Bosch Group’s automotive-driven mobility business unit.

The Germany-based industrial conglomerate reported that its mobility business unit—which has a customer list that includes Google, Tesla Motors, and Porsche—saw sales in North America grow nearly 10% to $8 billion in 2014. The mobility unit is by far the company’s largest business sector in North America, accounting for more than 70% of the $11.3 billion in total consolidated sales in the region. The Bosch Group reported total global sales of $65 billion in 2014.

Automakers are under pressure to put an increasing amount of capital towards autonomous driving systems, connected features, electrification, car-sharing options, and even parking automation, according to a report released in June by Alix Partners. More than 20% of vehicles sold worldwide in 2015 will include embedded connectivity solutions, and more than half will be connected either by embedded, tethered, or smartphone integration, according to data from Connected Car Forum.

Bosch is poised to take advantage of the increased interest and investment in connected and automated cars.

The mobility unit, which is focused on automated, electrified, and connected vehicles, provides technology for automobiles as well as off-highway applications, two-wheelers, shipping, and rail transportation. The company’s engineers have been working on automated driving products since 2011 at locations in Palo Alto, California and Abstatt, Germany.

The mobility unit supplies Google with major components of its electric powertrain systems, including e-machine and power electronics, as well as long-range radar sensing. Last month, Bosch agreed to join Daimler and car-sharing company car2go in an automated parking project. Bosch is developing the parking space occupancy sensors, cameras and communication technology for the project.

Last year, the company launched several new products in this area, including connected mobility software. Bosch also completed its acquisition of ZF Lenksysteme GmbH, which is now called Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH. The independent automotive steering division already generates around 60% of its sales with electric steering systems, according to the company.

The division’s R&D is focused on developing software to connect different vehicle components and create complete systems. The company has developed a solution, which is now ready for series production, that makes it possible to maneuver a car-trailer combination by smartphone.

Now, the company is focused on building out web-enabled and Internet-based services.

“We are driving connectivity forward in all our business sectors and playing an active role in shaping it,” CEO Volkmar Denner said during the company’s annual press conference.

Correction, July 10, 2015: The headline of this article has been updated to reflect that Bosch’s Mobility Solutions division includes businesses beyond vehicle automation.

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