The age of the traditional car is over. The car is getting digital, connected, and intelligent. And Robert Bosch’s India engineers – about 20,000 of them – are playing a central role in developing this rolling smart device for the world.
The German company’s Bengaluru centre is responsible for a lot of the software work for connected, digital cars. “Our R&D centre in India works on product engineering for the whole world. Products which are conceptualised and developed out of India are being used globally. We’re working on driver assistance, driver safety, new forms of infotainment, next-gen technologies in electric battery and power management. We’re also developing the algorithms for autonomous driving,” says Dattatri Salagame, MD of Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions.
Salagame says cars are getting more personalised, autonomous, connected and electrified. “I call cars mobility gadgets. We have, for instance, developed solutions which bring context-relevant information in the car, which can be extremely useful for users. Say, you pass by a shopping mall as you drive, you’ll get personalised recommendations on your infotainment screen, as well as parking options,” he says.
Even though complete autonomous driving is still some time away, Salagame says there’s a lot of work being done with autonomous driving under certain conditions – like self-parking. “While we offer products like self-parking, we’re also working on what is necessary for higher levels of autonomous driving, such as algorithms around video labeling, as also perceptional algorithms, to recognise the whole world around the car.”
Salagame says many would be surprised by the extent to which cars are getting connected. “We believe all vehicles will become like mobile phones. They will all be connected, and just as your phone gets updated regularly, you will have new features that will be regularly updated onto your car. Cars will become dynamic products,” he says.
India is doing so much of Robert Bosch’s work that the company plans to hire 2,500 more engineers this year. More and more of its hires are in AI, ML, IoT, blockchain, cybersecurity, cloud and autonomous driving. The company looks for people who understand systems in the domain of mobility, electronics, mechatronics, and computer science. “You need very deep domain knowledge to understand the systems in a car. We need people who can write code and algorithms that control mechanical systems,” says Salagame.