Robert Bosch saw a drop of 4.4 percent in turnover in 2020 to €71.6bn from 2019, which was iteslf down from turnover of over €78bn in 2017 and 2018. Profits dipped again in 2020 to €1.9bn after restructuring costs, down from €2.06 in 2019 and half that of the stronger previous years.
“Despite the effects of the pandemic, we were able to achieve a very positive result,” said Dr Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch. Only the consumer division, which includes the medical activity on test systems, saw growth.
“By investing in areas of future importance, such as sustainable mobility, the internet of things, and artificial intelligence, we are further expanding our innovation leadership,” he said.
In particular, Bosch believes that AIoT – the combination of artificial intelligence (AI) and the internet of things (IoT) – will create growth opportunities in markets worth billions. “We want to become a leading AIoT company,” said Denner. “On the strength of our broad domain knowledge and extensive expertise in electronics and software, we have more at our disposal than most of our competitors.”
Bosch has already sold some ten million connectivity-enabled power tools, home appliances, and heating systems, and the number of active users is growing. “The next step is to turn technical expertise into business,” said Denner. The Bosch Centre for Artificial Intelligence (BCAI) was set up in early 2017 and currently employs 270 staff working on more than 180 projects in the domains of mobility, manufacturing, smart homes, and agriculture.
The new Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division with its roughly 17,000 hardware and software specialists will also play an important role in what Bosch says is its journey to becoming an AIoT company. “The new division brings together hardware and software development for new automotive electronics architectures,” Denner said. “This is our gateway to an emerging market driven by higher levels of intelligence in cars.” In the second half of 2020, Bosch saw orders for its vehicle computers worth around €2.5 billion euros. Further deals worth billions are set to follow this year it says.