Bosch ‘40 Locations in the UK’
Keeping London on the move
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In Shoreditch, deep in the heart of London’s tech ecosystem, six experts from Bosch’s Mobility Solutions team work full time on improving the way we move around our cities. By forming small teams that can work very closely within a city’s network, the project aims to gain a better understanding of the local mobility challenges and how Bosch can rise to meet them.
“We want to understand the challenges from the city’s perspective to improve how we formulate new products and services for cities” - Nick Reed - Head of Mobility R&D at Bosch Mobility Solutions, explains.
“This can mean anything from enabling people to complete their journeys more effectively or making business more efficient through smarter deliveries.”
Established last February, the Shoreditch team is the UK location for the global team, with offices in Chicago, Mexico City and Bangalore also getting up to speed. The teams study the cities to establish what the mobility challenges are in order to see if Bosch has any existing solutions that could help address the problems, or if new innovations are needed. They also keep a close eye on promising new mobility businesses and start-ups that Bosch could acquire or invest in.
“In London, the real challenge is addressing the congestion and capacity issues in the transport network.”
Naturally, these challenges are very different in a sprawling grid-like city like Chicago or the emerging smart cities in India. So in close cooperation with city authorities, we look carefully at the approaches that we think work in one location and see if they could work elsewhere – or perhaps there are unique regulatory, social and/or commercial characteristics that mean that Bosch needs to try something completely different.”
The teams combine expertise from across the industries in order to develop solutions that take into account the whole complexity of city mobility without forgetting the human aspect.
“Our team in London has expertise in government affairs, in automotive engineering and in electric vehicles. My background is in psychology, specialising in driver behaviour and automated vehicles. Now I try to understand the behavioural aspect of how new mobility services will be used, accepted and trusted by the public,” Nick explains.
Networking is a big part of the work undertaken by the team. Last year, the team organised two hackathon events for local university students, one in London and one in Chicago. Mentored by Bosch experts, the students were tasked to develop new ways to improve mobility using available data.
Mobility Hackathon London
“They came up with some fantastic ideas for reducing congestion, improving multimodal journeys and providing better access to transport, whether for the elderly and the disabled, or for low-income neighbourhoods,” Nick says. “The hackathons are also a good way of embedding ourselves in the academic network in these cities and raising awareness of what Bosch does.”
With an increasing proportion of the world’s population becoming urbanised, the pressure on cities and especially the transport networks is expected to grow. The need for new solutions to address the problem is evident. According to Nick, this new mobility ecosystem is opening up new opportunities for Bosch, but it is also creating and introducing new competitors to the market.
“The competitor landscape is changing as technology companies, vehicle manufacturers and transport providers are seeing the opportunity in mobility services, so we have to work out how to partner with those organisations or how to compete with them.