Bosch relies on Microsoft for automotive connectivity platform
In a joint effort, Bosch and Microsoft plan to collaborate to develop a software platform that aims at seamlessly connecting cars and cloud-based services. According to a Bosch press release, this will turn the software installed in vehicles into a dynamic object: In future, it is to be developed further faster, more simply and over the entire life of the car. To this end, it will be possible to download it to the ECUs and vehicle computers via the cloud, using the over-the-air (OTA) interface. The software platform is based on Microsoft Azure and also includes significant code contributions from Bosch.
Furthermore, both companies are developing, among other things, development tools that make the process of software development – even across company boundaries – significantly more efficient. Thanks to the new platform, innovation cycles can be shortened and the development costs for vehicle software reduced. New functions and digital services will thus reach car drivers more quickly. The development cooperation combines Bosch’s software, electronics and systems expertise with Microsoft’s know-how in the areas of software development and cloud computing. Both companies plan for the first vehicle prototypes to be able to use the new software platform by the end of 2021.
“Bosch is already bringing cars safely up to date with over-the-air software updates,” explained Markus Heyn, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. “Thanks to an end-to-end platform for software-defined vehicles, we want to support automotive manufacturers as our customers in the future to develop new functions faster and bring them to the road.”
The background to the cooperation is the realisation that software will play an increasingly important role in future vehicle generations – also because new trends such as electromobility, automated driving and modern mobility services will only become possible through software. Therefore, updates and upgrades will also be much more frequent in the future. However, due to high security requirements throughout the vehicle’s lifetime, wireless software updates and digital services for cars are significantly more complex than for smartphones and PCs.
Additional complexity for software development arises from the diversity of model series and variants in the automotive industry, especially in Germany. Bosch therefore contributes to the development cooperation on the one hand its experience with electrical and electronic architectures, control units and vehicle computers, which is necessary for the OTA updates of the vehicles. On the other hand, the company contributes its know-how as well as software-based products and development tools for cars. This includes the basic software and so-called middleware for vehicle computers and ECUs, as well as cloud-based software modules to apply wireless updates to entire vehicle fleets.
“With a comprehensive software platform from the vehicle to the cloud, we reduce the complexity in both software development and system integration in the car. In this way, we create the prerequisite for wireless updates to work just as smoothly and conveniently in vehicles as they do in smartphones,” says Heyn. A pre-integrated platform solution, such as the one to be developed together with Microsoft, reduces the complexity of OTA updates that keep the vehicle software always up-to-date. This is made possible because the software architectures of vehicles and cloud now fit together seamlessly.
Bosch and Microsoft also plan to further develop existing software tools. They are intended to enable automakers and suppliers to simplify and accelerate their own software development while still complying with the automotive industry’s high safety requirements. The companies also want to use the fully integrated GitHub Enterprise platform. There are also plans to make important parts of the new software platform available as open source on GitHub.com for developers.
With the Bosch cooperation, Microsoft’s influence in the automotive sector continues to grow. Only last week, Volkswagen announced a cooperation with Microsoft in which the Azure platform also plays a central role.