Bosch: Future urban mobility must be centered on people

Stress-free, accident-free, and emissions-free: these represent a future-forward view of urban mobility, where people and goods are able to move freely, and cities are able to function effectively. According to the United Nations’ World Cities report of 2016, an estimated 54.4 per cent of the world’s population – or roughly four billion people – lived in urban settlements. It is estimated that by 2030, there will be at least five billion city dwellers globally and in ASEAN alone, some 90 million people will move into cities – approximately 57 million of whom will belong to an aging population that continues to grow at an unprecedented pace. “Bosch believes that in order to sustain quality of life, alternative mobility models for cities are becoming increasingly vital, and governments, the industry, and the public can work together in making a difference in developing a future urban mobility landscape,” said Martin Hayes, president of Bosch in Southeast Asia in a keynote address at the EU-ASEAN Business Summit in Singapore earlier today.

A multi-modal, safe and clean transport system

Bosch’s vision of a future urban mobility is driven by the belief that systems and solutions must be centered on people – how the needs and well-being of citizens can be addressed, and how involving the community in shaping change can positively affect the mobility environment.

Stress-free mobility is flexible mobility

One of the factors that impedes productivity and economic growth is congestion. With nearly 650 million inhabitants, ASEAN accounts for 8.6 per cent of the world’s population, and put approximately 12.8 million new two- and four-wheel vehicles on the road in 2017 alone. With the rapid growth especially in the two-wheeler segment, this simply means that traffic infrastructures have become overstretched and that in most cases, private vehicles are the only form of transport.

Bosch’s pragmatic approach to stress-free mobility is one in which city-dwellers are able to plan their journeys flexibly – whether by four or two wheels, rail, or even ride-sharing, which makes transport more accessible and cost-effective.

Most recently in February, Bosch acquired US carpooling start-up SPLT (Splitting Fares Inc.) and has officially entered the ridesharing business. Designed especially for commuters, SPLT uses an app that connects people from within the same organizations who share the same routes to their place of work or study.

In 2016, Bosch debuted the COUP e-scooter sharing service, which offers a simple alternative to public transportation, private cars, or taxis. Already on the road in Berlin and Paris, the eco-friendly scooters will be coming to other interesting cities throughout the course of the year, starting with Madrid. Thanks to the COUP app, users have no problem finding and booking the nearest available e-scooter and setting off immediately.

These flexible approaches using Bosch’s expanding connectivity-based portfolio will help provide a framework for stress-free mobility of the future.

Accident-free mobility is automated mobility

Road accidents are currently the ninth leading cause of death across all age groups, and is predicted to move up to seventh place by 2030. In actual figures, more than 1.2 million people are killed every year on the world’s roads, and the World Health Organization estimates that up to 120,000 are killed on ASEAN roads every year, while only 63,000 are officially registered. Nine out of ten of these fatal accidents around the world are attributed to human error, and a vehicle’s intelligent features and functions that will take over more tasks from the driver will help mitigate this risk.

Driver assistance systems

Urban mobility is highly complex and brings with it new risks. Groups that are particularly vulnerable in traffic situations are pedestrians and cyclists. Bosch’s new smart systems are equipped with radar sensors and video cameras, allowing them to detect these road users even in complex traffic situations. The system will then warn the driver and even intervene if necessary. This is achieved in defined situations through the communication and interaction of a variety of components. The end result is the avoidance, or at least a reduction, in the number of accidents in city traffic. These pioneering technologies work to the benefit of all road users – with more safety and convenience for drivers, and increased protection for cyclists and pedestrians.

Safety is the cornerstone of automated driving

“Bosch believes that the most substantial impact that the auto industry can make is to produce safer vehicles equipped with modern safety systems,” said Hayes.

In 1978, the world’s first Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) was introduced for passenger cars. A version for two-wheelers – motorcycle ABS – was introduced in 1995. ABS enables safe braking, allowing the driver to maintain steering control and in most situations shortens braking distance without skidding. Bosch research estimates that if every powered two-wheeler were equipped with ABS, around one in four of all motorcycle accidents in the ASEAN countries could be prevented. To further enhance safety in vehicles, the Electronic Stability Program (ESP®) went into series production in 1995. It comprises the functions of the ABS and detects skidding movements, and actively counteracts them. With ESP® technology in place, 80 per cent of skidding accidents can be prevented, ultimately improving driver safety. ESP® is also the basic technology for many driver assistance systems and automated driving.

The UN General Assembly has proclaimed 2011 to 2020 as the Decade of Action for Road Safety and throughout ASEAN, Bosch has been actively shaping change by working closely with governments, universities, and NGOs, with the goal of reducing road traffic accidents to an absolute minimum. One effective way to achieve this is with the mandate to equip all new vehicles with ESP® as early as the next manufacturing cycle. By June 2018, all new cars in Malaysia will be equipped with ESP®. Bosch believes that other ASEAN countries should have a strong interest to follow suit in order to substantially increase road safety.

Emission-free mobility is electrified mobility

Bosch has committed itself to electromobility in a systematic, integrated manner, allocating significant parts of its seven-billion-euro R&D budget on ensuring that powertrains are fit for the future; i.e., with environmental protection and resource conservation in mind. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that urban areas account for 67 per cent of energy-related global greenhouse gases; 28 per cent of which is currently used for transport and without efforts to curb consumption and output, this will increase to roughly 70 per cent in 2050.

With battery-powered electric two- and four-wheel vehicles becoming a major fixture in the vehicle ranges of leading manufacturers, electrification is seen to become a favoured alternative in further reducing CO2 emissions.

“Cities around the world are rethinking urban mobility and actively promote the usage of alternative transport modes. These are often enabled by technology innovations that radically transform the way we travel. Commitment from public, private, NGO and government sector is instrumental in fulfilling the vision of a sustainable urban mobility of the future,” Hayes concluded.