Bosch buys UK driverless car software startup Five

Bosch buys UK driverless car software startup Five

Business news |
By Nick Flaherty

Bosch is to buy Five, Europe’s leading startup for driverless cars for an undisclosed sum

Five employs 140 associates at six locations in the United Kingdom and has raised over $78m in funding according to Crunchbase. Bosch says Five gave it preference over other takeover bidders. Five signed a deal in January with Cognata, a partner of ZF, on verification technology.

The two software teams and engineering environments will be merged to form a single solution within the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division.

Founded in 2016 by serial entrepreneur Stan Boland, Five has developed expertise in cloud software, safety assurance, robotics and machine learning for autonomous driving to SAE Level 4. Following trials in London in 2019, it now focuses primarily on a cloud-based development and testing platform for the software used in self-driving cars.

This gives engineers the environment to create automated driving software and to test it before and during its deployment in test vehicles. The platform is able to analyze real data from a fleet of test vehicles, create advanced testing scenarios, and build a simulation environment that makes it possible to assess and validate system behaviour at hyper-scale.

The deal follows the acquisition of Atlatec GmbH, a specialist in the field of high-resolution digital maps and means Bosch will be the only company to offer all the building blocks of automated driving from a single source, from actuators, sensors, and maps to software and the engineering environment.

“Five is the perfect fit for our engineering activities – not least due to its associates’ mindset and agile approach. This brings us closer to our aim of getting safe automated driving onto our roads,” said Dr. Mathias Pillin, president of the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division.

“Automated driving is set to make road traffic safer. We want Five to give an extra boost to our work in software development for safe automated driving, and offer our customers European-made technology,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector.

“Scale matters in building automated driving technology. Bosch is a global leader in driving assistance technologies, with core technologies and vast data lakes that will be essential in bringing safe self-driving systems to market. We’re excited for Five to become part of Europe’s most powerful SAE Level 4 player and to be a part of Bosch’s future success,” said Stan Boland, CEO of Five.

He co-founded Five with CTO Steve Allpress after selling IoT firm Neul to Huawei in 2015. Prior to that, he sold chip developer Icera to Nvidia for $367m in 2011 and sold broadband processor startup Element14 to Broadcom for $640m in 2000,

Bosch is taking a two-pronged approach to autonomous cars, developing solutions for private vehicles with a focus on driver assistance and on partially and conditionally automated systems (SAE Levels 1 to 3). The other development is a focus on fleet vehicles and new operating models, in the logistics sector in particular.

Bosch has already developed automated valet parking, the first production-ready driving function not to require a driver.

The acquisition is still subject to approval by the antitrust authorities.;

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