German auto supplier Bosch made a pair of major moves earlier this week that will help it ramp up efforts to offer its own mobility services:
- Bosch purchased SPLT, a four-year-old carpooling startup, for an undisclosed sum. The startup operates a mobile app that connects coworkers on their daily commutes, and suggests the optimal route for people who want to share rides to and from work, thereby reducing congestion and saving time and money. SPLT counts several universities, nonprofits, and local governments as clients. The company will continue to function independently as a subsidiary of Bosch, and is just one of many ride-hailing firms angling to take over consumers' daily commutes globally.
- SPLT will, however, operate under Bosch's new Connected Mobility Solutionsgroup, which is dedicated to operating alternative mobility services. The company already operates an e-scooter rental service through its subsidiary COUP, which launched in Berlin in 2016, expanded to Paris last year, and is expanding to Madrid later in 2018. It plans to fold COUP's services into this new group, and says it will offer another service designed to help electric vehicle owners determine how far they can drive before needing to recharge their cars based on nearby charging stations.
Bosch could choose to pair these new services with its autonomous driving technologies, although it's still unclear how that would look. The German giant has been working on autonomous driving technologies for several years, and has partnerships with Daimler, graphics processor designer Nvidia, and Chinese search giant Baidu in place to produce the sensor and hardware suites for these vehicles.
Along with these new mobility services, it can now offer automakers at least part of the technology stack they need to build a self-driving car, while also potentially offering to deploy those cars in a ride-hailing or ride-sharing fleet, whether that's SPLT's or another future service that Bosch will offer. Like many legacy players in the auto industry, Bosch will likely continue to experiment for the next few years with different ways it can tie together its efforts in autonomy and in the burgeoning mobility services space.
- Sizes the current and future self-driving car market, forecasting shipments and projecting installed base.
- Explains the current state of technology, regulation, and consumer perception.
- Analyzes how the development of autonomous cars will impact employment and the economy.
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