Alliance of VW and Bosch in robot cars

VW's software subsidiary Cariad and automotive supplier Bosch want to jointly develop software for automated driving. The first functions are to be included in new cars as early as next year.

Europe's largest automaker and the world's largest automotive supplier will work together in the future on the development of robot cars: VW and Bosch announced today that they will jointly develop software for automated driving with immediate effect. This is the first time that a supplier and an automaker have cooperated at eye level.

"Best school is road traffic"

"Together with Cariad, we are now accelerating the market launch of partially and highly automated driving functions in all vehicle classes, making them available to everyone. This will make road traffic safer and more comfortable," said Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management. Bosch and Cariad, a software subsidiary of Volkswagen, plan to have more than 1,000 experts from both companies working on the software in the future.

An important advantage of the collaboration, he said, is the large fleet of cars VW has at its disposal. "For the development of automated driving, the best school is real road traffic," said Mathias Pillin, chairman of the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division. "We are gaining a huge database with the help of one of the largest connected vehicle fleets in the world."

System for driving on the highway

The first functions are to come to VW's cars as early as next year. For example, the Group plans to introduce automatic spacers in models from all Volkswagen brand groups. A system is also to be developed in which the vehicle takes over the driving task on the highway - apart from changing lanes.

According to the announcement, the partners also want to examine joint development goals in the direction of fully automated driving - the so-called "Level 4." Such systems would then also take over lane changes on the highway, for example. Cars should also be able to drive practically on their own in city traffic - the driver only has to intervene in an emergency. At the ITS World Congress last September, VW announced that it was planning a fleet of autonomously driving cars for 2025.

The joint software is not to be developed exclusively for the VW Group: "We can also offer the resulting solutions to our other customers and thus set new standards," said Bosch board of management member Markus Heyn. It remained unclear, however, how long Cariad will collaborate with Bosch on automated driving.

Previous cooperation with Daimler terminated

For the automotive supplier, this is already the second comparable cooperation with a German manufacturer: Until last fall, Bosch had worked together with Daimler on the development of automated driving, and test fleets in the U.S. were also tested. In the middle of last year, it was reported that the cooperation had been terminated.

In December, Daimler's passenger car subsidiary Mercedes-Benz then announced that it had become the first manufacturer in the world to receive the green light from the authorities to deploy highly automated driving ("Level 3"). In Germany, the system is to be introduced in the luxury S-Class model in the first half of this year.