The Bosch Group has announced that it sees strong signs of recovery in the Indian market, while forecasting a positive development over the mid-term. In 2017, the Bosch Group registered total sales of about € 2.2 bn, which is a strong double-digit growth of 15.4 % in euro terms. With a projected 7.7 % GDP-growth for the Indian economy in 2018 and a similar level for coming years, Bosch noted that it expects to continue with its momentum.
Bosch said the main contributors are from the developments of the local automotive industry, which holds opportunities for diesel technology, electromobility and connected mobility, along with connected manufacturing and connected cities. In order to meet the rising demand in the local market and expand India’s strong role in its global network, the company plans to invest Rs 1,700 crore over the next three years. A major share of this will be used to expand Bosch’s smart campus in Adugodi, Bangalore, and modernise manufacturing facilities in the country, it added.
Dr Volkmar Denner, Chairman, Board Of Management, Bosch Group, said the Indian economy is on the rise again and holds tremendous potential.
In terms of powertrain technologies, Bosch said it will offer the right mix of internal combustion (IC) engines and electrification technologies for the Indian market. India plans to achieve BS-VI implementation from April 2020, and adopt electromobility solutions built for Indian conditions. The company believes that IC engines will continue to be the mainstream solution for freight and commercial vehicles. However, a key role here will be played by Bosch India’s electrification initiatives, to address the transformation in urban mobility, it noted. Bosch views the co-existence of fossil fuel engines and electrification with hybridisation as an interim solution, keeping in mind the country’s climate change targets.
Bosch observed that hybrid technology will be a vital contributor towards the electrification goal in India due to the nation’s unique stop-start driving patterns and road congestion. In light of that, fleet operators and smaller vehicles are poised to adopt electrification as soon as feasible options are available in the market, the company said. Bosch experts believe that the use of synthetic fuels as a scheduled supplement to electrification will play a vital role to reduce CO2 emission.
In order to make low emissions traffic a reality, Bosch is making heavy investments, both in terms of making electromobility a market success, and in enhancing the IC engine. Both technologies benefit the demand of the Indian market, it said. Bosch is also said to have achieved a breakthrough in diesel technology with its engineers have succeeded in getting NOx emissions down significantly. Test vehicles equipped with Bosch’s enhanced technology emit about 13 mg/km of NOx on average during road tests, according to the new European RDE standard. Dr Denner said, “There’s a future for diesel. It will remain integral to tomorrow’s mobility solutions.”
CONNECTED MOBILITY SOLUTIONS
Bosch noted that another field of growth in India’s automotive industry is the rising demand for connected mobility. The company continues to drive forward its transformation into a provider of mobility services, for which it has recently established a Connected Mobility Solutions division to develop and sell digital mobility services.
In India, the new business division will work to develop a global telematics platform that will be enabled and operated by local engineering talent. This platform will help the company to improve service to its customer base in India with effective solutions designed for effective mobility. The key offerings will include vehicle sharing, ridesharing, and connectivity-based services for car drivers.
Connectivity will fundamentally change how one commutes from A to B, and in the process it will help to solve today’s traffic problems, noted Dr Denner. He said connectivity is being used to realise a vision of emissions-free, stress-free, and accident-free mobility.
BOSCH CENTER FOR ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI)
In 2017, Bosch invested € 300 mn (about Rs 2,360 crore) into the Bosch Centre for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) across three continents, of which one was set up in Bangalore. This is besides the other established in Sunnyvale, US and Renningen, Germany, with another one scheduled to be set up in China. Additionally, Bosch in India has also partnered with IIT-Madras and set up a Robert Bosch Centre for Data Science and Artificial Intelligence, with a fund of Rs 4 crore per year for five years. This will set a precedent in the way big-data is used to improve the company’s problem-solving capability in the industry.
Dr Denner noted that about 18,000 out of the company’s 31,000 associates in India work in R&D, underlining the company’s importance for the Bosch Group’s global network. India also plays a significant role when it comes to Artificial Intelligence (AI), he added. Most of the products in the near future will be linked to AI, and these products will either possess that intelligence themselves, or AI will play a key role in their development or manufacture, Dr Denner said.