Bosch, the Gerlingen, Germany-based smart devices conglomerate that produces everything from dishwashers to CCTV cameras, had a lot to talk about during its keynote presentation at the 2019 Consumer Electronics Show on Monday. Most of it involved the internet of things. Some of it involved artificial intelligence (AI). And all of it revolved around services challenging the notions of what technology can achieve.
“Bosch recognized the huge opportunities of the IoT early on,” Dr. Markus Heyn, board management member at Bosch, said. “We have been actively shaping the connected world for nearly ten years now. Today, we are a leading IoT company. Step by step, we have extended our software and IT expertise.”
Toward that end, Bosch says it’s carried out more than 270 projects in fields such as mobility, smart homes, smart cities, and agriculture, and that the number of sensors and devices connected over the Bosch IoT Suite has risen nearly 40 percent since last year to 8.5 million.
AI crash response
On the machine learning front, Bosch highlighted its partnership with Canadian platform provide Mojo, which resulted in what it calls the first “integrated IoT platform for connected vehicles.” A Bosch-designed algorithm can detect when an accident occurs and evaluate its severity, and transmit data via Mojo’s cloud to a Bosch emergency service center, loved ones and emergency services.
From the middle of next year, Bosch and Mojo’s crash response service will be available for nearly a million drivers in North America and Europe, Bosch said.
“We will best be able to unlock the potential of the IoT if we combine it with AI, and take our IoT and AI activities forward in parallel,” Heyn said. “The IoT needs intelligence. The use of connected things to gather data can be a decisive boost for the development of AI. It is only through AI that connected things become intelligent and learn to draw their own conclusions.”
Bosch touched on its driverless vehicle initiative during today’s presentation, which it detailed late last year ahead of CES 2019. The company pledged that, in addition to concept cars like the shuttle it showed off last week, it will supply the necessary components, systems, platforms, and infrastructure — including parking and recharging services — to make autonomous, connected cars a reality.
Concretely, Bosch reiterated its intention to pilot a driverless ridesharing service in San Jose in the second half of 2019, in partnership with Daimler. It expressed optimism that the trial it will “significantly” advance Bosch’s goal of developing a driving system for production-ready, fully automated driverless cars by the beginning of the next decade.
“In the future, every vehicle on the road will make use of Bosch digital services. We will consolidate them into a smart, seamlessly connected ecosystem,” Heyn said.
Closer to home — or in the home, rather — Bosch said it remains committed to services that “make users’ lives easier.”
Toward that end, it announced a new feature for internet-connected fridges that can identify different types of food and provide recommendations on storage. An interior camera can automatically recognize up to 60 kinds of fruits and vegetables and suggest the ideal place to store them, by means of an app.
Also new is the PAI projector, a projector specially designed for kitchen environments. It can project a virtual dashboard onto any surface — like a kitchen counter, for instance, or a tabletop — and packs an integrated 3D sensor that’s able to capture hand movements, allowing it to react more or less like a touchscreen.
The PAI projector is set to debut in China in February 2019, followed by a market launch in the U.S.
Last but not least, Bosch revealed the Indego S+, a new robot lawn mower with internet connectivity. It’s one of the first with support for Amazon’s Alexa assistant, and the only robot lawnmower that can use weather forecasts to automatically decided when best to mow the lawn, Bosch claims. Moreover, the company says that the Indego S+ can tap AI to improve the way the robot mower recognizes obstacles on the lawn by evaluating data like motor flow, acceleration, motor speed, and direction.
“We are using AI to make lawn care even easier and more convenient. Our vision is an Indego that adapts to its garden in order to mow the lawn perfectly every time,” Heyn said. “We’re working on the idea of a connected home, and on appliances that think autonomously and understand what users want … Above all, we aim to achieve concrete improvements in people’s real, everyday lives — things such as more time, more security, more efficiency, and more convenience.”