RK Shenoy, Senior VP — Mobility Engineering at Bosch Global Software Technologies, in an interaction with Industry Outlook, shares his insights on the paradigm shift in Engineering, Research & Development. He also throws light on the issues pertaining to customization in ER&D, E-mobility and more.
Businesses are increasingly focusing on developing engineering research and development (ER&D) products that can resonate with the digital consumer. How do you see the current evolution of the ER&D market? What are the major factors driving its growth?
When we look at mobility
, the domain is transforming at an exponential pace. Today, the market is increasingly transcending towards digitization and software defined vehicles with an increased demand for personalized, automated, connected and electrified solutions. The overall progress in the mobility domain is making a positive impact on the OEMs along with other stakeholders like — service providers.
At BSW, our team has been actively working in the ER&D domain, helping us develop advanced software for the controllers and AI algorithms of our products. Moreover, after the outbreak of pandemic, the world has now become flat, eliminating the location constraint. Today, innovation can take place in any part of the world, fueling further development in the ER&D space.
How is your company designing, developing, and executing IoT ecosystems?
Bosch has transformed itself into an IoT based company. Every unit is now being connected to each other helping us bring more value to the products resulting in an enhanced user experience. The implementation of the IoT has also been beneficial in considerably decreasing the project delivery time. Unlike the past where we had to go through three to four years of planning for every generation of vehicle or subsystem, then release the hardware into the plant and ultimately into the road, today, IoT has completely changed the game. With enhanced hardware having a robust computing power and storage capacity, the software can be upgraded periodically right on the field. It is also possible to release new software’s depending on the changing needs of the customers, and this is where the OEMs are shifting their focus.
At Bosch, we are working to enhance the computing to bring highly advanced computing platforms like — HPCS(High Performance Computing Solutions ) and VCO into the picture.
These high computing platforms are now available in every area, such as — automated driving, driver assistance, electrified systems, cockpit electronics. Wherein the software’s of each of these platforms can be updated on a need-to-go basis. For example, the recent XUV W7, has the software that was orchestrated by BSW, and for this vehicle we were able to release multiple advanced applications that the users can download and get the features as per their needs.
With product development cycles being compressed, how challenging has it become to incorporate customization approaches in ER&D?
The speed of deploying systems has now significantly gone up. With this change we have also moved from the traditional waterfall model to a safe or agile development pattern. In this way, the development that happens is concurrent to deploy them on to the customers. For example, if the OEM is doing a monthly build or a monthly update of a system, then we typically release software to the OEMs on a weekly basis.
To be on par with the shifting pattern, we have also changed our tool chain to make it feasible for us. For example — even before pandemic, our team had the access to work from multiple locations, when delivering on a weekly basis. However, with the pandemic, this further accelerated and we were able to give remote access of our hardware in loop testing system to our team. While this remote access helped our team to work-from-home and in a hybrid mode, it also made our labs accessible to the worldwide team of Bosch, helping us reduce the time that was earlier needed to transfer the hardware samples to other parts of the world.
What is the maturity level of the automotive sector with regard to electric mobility? What kind of ER&D excellence would automotive manufacturers require in their transition to e-mobility?
In the coming days, the automotive sector will witness a rise in use of multiple modes of powertrains, such as – CNG, hydrogen, EV, hybrids, etc. However, the decision to use different levels of electrification solely depends on the vehicle segment. For example — in the future, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and even passenger cars, will move heavily towards battery electric vehicles.
With increasing use of EV, there are a lot of technology changes happening on the battery. The industry is diligently working to improve the storage capacity and also to reduce the cost of the battery. Moving ahead, motor design and development will also be a key point of consideration. Owing to the material availability challenge and cost, the industry is exploring different materials, requiring a sufficient amount of re-engineering.
At Bosch, we do a lot of engineering already from India in the R&D space, but affordability is a concern when it comes to different regions. So, a lot of work is still happening to make the systems smaller and affordable.
Where do you see the ER&D market in the near future? How is it going to transform further? Which new technologies is it going to adopt in order to drive innovation?
With rapid digital interventions taking place, the pace and process of development will be completely altered. The digital technologies and AI will be increasingly implemented in the products, and will also play a major role in the development cycle itself. Moreover, the higher computing power and possibility to use AI in some of the systems like — automated driving, will call for a higher amount of development.
On the classic domains, like — IC, braking, or steering, AI is now implemented to enhance the quality and performance of the product. Hence, if we look at AI and IoT, it is finally about innovating to come up with a product that is feature rich as well as cost efficient for different markets. With this combination, ER&D will massively grow in India and across the globe.