This top alliance marks a redefinition of the relationship between manufacturers and equipment manufacturers, at the time of driving, motorization, data collection and software are tightly nested.
VOLKSWAGEN (VW), the first European manufacturer, made alliance with Bosch, the first world automotive equipment manufacturer, in autonomous driving. The partnership, announced Tuesday, January 25, can surprise when we know how much the relationship between manufacturers and subcontractors are coded in Germany, the first traditionally having the pre-eminence on the latter. But the world of the automobile has changed: the strategic part of the vehicle is not only in the motorization and the comfort of driving, but in the software and the control of the data, as well as in the connections between the two universes. In the great technological battle of autonomous driving, the Giant VW has visited: in view of the current competition and technological tempo, it does not make weight alone.
Bosch and VW, through its Cariad subsidiary founded in June 2020, specializing in the software, so announced that they would work together 1,000 computer engineers, to make autonomous driving accessible for the largest number . The first fruits of this alliance must be placed on the market very early: from 2023, the new functions installed in the vehicles will allow the driver to remove the hands of the wheel temporarily in certain situations, either level 2 of the autonomous pipe. The platform will serve as a basis for gradually closing the degree of autonomy of the vehicle at a level 3, allowing the software to completely take control of the vehicle on highway. Level 4 (complete autonomous driving) is targeted.
For the first time, the two industrial groups will collaborate “equal to” to develop a common system on advanced technology, highly sensitive. This redefinition of roles marks a cesure. The time when the large equipment manufacturers sold the manufacturers of the systems or integrated parts in their vehicles seems to be over. The necklines are now too complex.
The product developed in common will be used in all categories of private vehicles in the VW Group. But Bosch obviously reserves the right to benefit from the other customers. “All elements of cooperation can be integrated into vehicles and ecosystems of other car manufacturers,” said the Joint Communiqué published Tuesday.
Assets pooling to catch up
The two groups emphasized their complementarity at multiple levels. Bosch made its turnover well before Volkswagen, and already has a state-of-the-art know-how, BIG DATA management and artificial intelligence, that is, the analysis of the data collected on the road. VW has one of the most important fleets of vehicles in the world. It therefore holds a major source of data, and a lever allowing the technology developed to impose quickly on the market.
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