To wrap up our discussion on the connected vehicle, we have asked Dr. Rainer Kallenbach, CEO of Bosch Software Innovations, to share his views on what is happening in this space.

Dirk Slama: Rainer, how will you get to work in the year 2025?

Dr. Kallenbach: I’m quite positive that it will be by electric vehicle, and it will be highly automated. The first few meters, in my village, I will likely drive myself – but once on the freeway I will not need to intervene or monitor the way the car is driving. This means I’ll be able to use the car’s integrated screen to access my calendar and catch up on email – or Bosch social media posts – then I might send off some quick responses and make a few calls. As I also do a lot of commuting between various locations, the vehicle’s navigation system will be already programmed with appointments from my calendar. While my car may have an electric range of 250 km, this won’t be enough for all of my trips so the system will also have reserved and scheduled recharging station stops and, if required, alternative public transportation.

Dirk Slama: What has to happen in order to make this work?

Dr. Kallenbach: For electric driving, the key challenges that need to be overcome are certainly related to electric energy storage and supply technology in terms of overall efficiency, energy density, and lifetime cost. A second important issue, which is probably still underestimated, is the availability of a reliable re-charging infrastructure that is connected and managed via the Internet. For automated driving, we will need some further progress on vehicles’ on-board sensors and algorithms, and more Internet-based information and the ability to stream near-real-time map data directly to the car, which may call for some additional infrastructure. All in all, it will be a perfect IoT environment with seamless networking between cars, infrastructure, and environment. The technologies we need to achieve this are already becoming available right now.

Dirk Slama: What impact will this have on today’s large OEMs and suppliers?

Dr. Kallenbach: This is hard to predict. Such profound changes in technology will create opportunities and risks. The opportunities can be seized by conventional large companies if – in addition to the highly specialized skills needed to manufacture cars and car components – they succeed in acquiring new competencies in new technologies (such as power electronics, IT and, in particular, the IoT) in time to secure a substantial piece of the newly developing value creation network. In any case, this implies huge and risky investments. The company`s alternative – i.e. not to prepare for and embrace change – will almost certainly lead to obsolescence… This is the why Bosch has been investing heavily, for a number of years now, in the electrification and automation of vehicles, as well as in IoT technology and its various applications.

Dirk Slama: What about Tesla and Google?

Dr. Kallenbach: Today they play an important role as forerunners in a new world of mobility, concretely demonstrating what is already possible. They have opened the eyes of many skeptics and conservatives. I see them mainly as our customers.

Dirk Slama: So all of this means exciting times ahead for end users?

Dr. Kallenbach: Yes… Well, maybe. I’m certainly looking forward to the commuting scenario discussed above. However, as an old-school member of generation X, I think I’d miss the fun of driving. I’d like to be able to decide whether I drive myself or am driven. Personally, this is the reason why I’ll be keeping a little sports car, complete with combustion engine and moving mechanical parts. No doubt it will have achieved vintage status by then…