CES 2021: Bosch Consolidates Computing Talent in New Mobility Division

As automotive software needs bloom, Bosch has pulled 17,000 associates into a new cross-domain division to help reduce computing hardware and complexity.

Bosch has consolidated 17,000 positions in its new Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division. (Bosch)

Bosch announced on January 7 during its CES 2021 conference event that it has created a new division labeled Cross-Domain Computing Solutions (CDCC). The CDCC division pools 17,000 of Bosch’s automotive software and electronics associates to create a single source for software-intensive systems for future vehicle architectures. According to Bosch, the market for such systems is expected to grow 15% annually between now and 2030, and the organizational move is designed to extend the supplier’s market-leading position.

The creation of the CDCC division was in response to the expansion of software required in upcoming connected and autonomous vehicles, perhaps as much as 500 million lines of code. (Bosch)

Bosch has assigned software, electrical and electronics engineers from the areas of driver assistance, automated driving, car multimedia, powertrain and body electronics to the new unit. “Bosch is an automotive electronics pioneer. Moreover, for quite some time now, it has also been a software company,” said Dr. Stefan Hartung, chairman of Bosch’s Mobility Solutions business sector. “Only a company with wide-ranging electronics and software expertise will be in a position to shape the future of mobility.”

Bosch’s new CDCC division will also help implement the engineering strategy to reduce the number of computer processing units required in a vehicle. (Bosch)

Millions of lines of code

According to Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America, the combination of electrified and automated driving with personalized connected services is causing significant increase in demand for automotive software and electronics. “Where a car included roughly 10 million lines of code in 2010, the software of today's non-automated vehicles already runs to 100 million lines of code,” Mansuetti said. “Tomorrow's automated cars will require up to 500 million.”

At the same time, Mansuetti explained, electronics engineering is becoming more complex, directly in line with more sophisticated vehicle functions. “In order for us to capitalize on our longstanding expertise in both of these domains,” he said, “we are now pooling our software and automotive-electronics expertise.” Of the 17,000 Bosch associates who became part of the new global division at the onset of 2021, nearly half are software engineers.

“In setting it up, we intend to master and reduce complexity in future vehicles through cross-domain software and electronics solutions,” Mansuetti said. “In particular, we're focusing on powerful vehicle computers which will take over from the multitude of individual control units used today. Our goal is to get new vehicle functions on the road significantly faster in the future, make cars more intelligent, and provide drivers with tangible benefits.”

Latest synergy maneuver

The enormous growth in software requirements is driven by the growing complexity and number of vehicle safety and convenience features. (Bosch)

Bosch had already consolidated the electronics-manufacturing capabilities of its Mobility Solutions business in April of 2020, coordinating production of all control units and vehicle computers via a manufacturing network that leverages 24,000 associates across 21 plants in 14 countries. This latest re-org appears designed to officially group software-engineering talent around the significant macro trends reshaping the industry.

“Bosch’s move to consolidate its software and electronics development is consistent with both the industry as a whole and the way that the electronics architecture is evolving in the vehicle,” said Sam Abuelsamid, principal e-mobility analyst for Guidehouse Insights and a moderator for Bosch’s 2021 CES mobility panel. “As the industry moves away from a network of dozens to 100-plus discrete ECUs to a smaller number of domain controllers and eventually zonal architecture, this will better enable upgradeability over the life of the vehicle.”

“However,” Abuelsamid noted, “to bring many discrete functions into a single compute platform, the software also needs to be aligned with common interfaces to share data and coordinate resources. Putting everyone in a single organization will make that process a lot easier.”