Bosch invests in trucking tech for tomorrow's trucks

Bosch's eCity truck electrified powertrain.

Bosch's eCity truck electrified powertrain.

Bosch may be well known for its automotive technology, but it is less known for its commercial vehicle technologies here in the United States. That is starting to change as Bosch is investing in technologies that will be part of the electric and autonomous future many are predicting for the industry.

The company gave attendees of the North American Commercial Vehicle show in Atlanta a taste of some of those technologies at its booth. The big takeaway from all of the different products is connectivity.

“The rate of change in the next 10 years is going to be quicker than the last 100,” Jason Roycht, vice president and head of commercial vehicles and off-road business units for Bosch North America. He noted that Bosch’s future is built around the Internet of Things that will lead to smarter routes for fleets, smarter maintenance practices, and smarter overall operations.

One such product is the 15-inch freely programmable cluster for the dashboard. This optically-bonded screen creates clarity for the safe display of relevant information to drivers. It has two variants, one in landscape mode as a dashboard solution and another in portrait mode that can work as part of a mirror camera system that can replace side mirrors and improve vehicle efficiency by reducing drag.

“The commercial transport sector is rapidly evolving and Bosch is paving the way for the future,” Roycht noted. “Our commercial vehicle systems include innovative technologies that make vehicles more electrified, efficient, connected and automated. This is made possible by features like real-time communication devices, advanced connectivity capabilities and sophisticated powertrain options.”

As the digitization of the truck continues - Roycht referred to it as a “40-ton smart device” - various systems need connectivity and data security. Much like a home router connects and protects all your devices, the Bosch Central Gateway enables secure connectivity in commercial vehicles. It is the central communication node that acts as a router for in-vehicle communication and through the connectivity control unit (CCU) to the outside. It provides firewall and intrusion detection and offers ETAS and ESCRYPT for transmission and encryption technologies that ensure functional safety and data security.

Bosch is also building technologies that will power the trucks of tomorrow. It is working with Nikola Motor on that company’s innovative hydrogen-electric powertrain. The Nikola One and Nikola Two trucks will also feature Bosch’s eAxle. The eAxle is a scalable, modular platform with the motor, power electronics, and transmission form one compact unit.

Some of the other technologies Bosch is working on include the eCity Truck, a diesel-hybrid system that incorporates the eAxle into a light commercial vehicle. It converts a diesel truck platform to a diesel-electric hybrid. The eCity Truck platform can also seamlessly integrate 48-volt technology. The Bosch boost recuperation system enables the provision of a 48V electrical accessories as well as energy recovery and smooth, efficient functions such as start-stop.

Using a Department of Energy grant, Bosch is working on a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle powertrain for medium-duty vehicles as part of the Medium-duty Urban Range Connected Extended Powertrain (MURECP) project. The MURECP project has also led to progress in developing an advanced dual-planetary gear transmission (e2PG) featuring multiple clutches that reduces fuel consumption by more than 50% on a real-world drive cycle.

Current Bosch technologies that are helping develop these vehicles of the future include a vehicle control unit (VCU) that enables the development of future technologies, not only for powertrain diversification, but also for automated driving functionality. The company’s driver assistance systems are also paving the way for automated driver. The latest generation of the Bosch multi-purpose camera (MPC) is a scalable, monocular camera platform for video-based driver assistance systems that make driving safe and more comfortable. The MPC integrates a wide range of driver assistance functions into vehicles using only one sensor.

And finally, there is the Servotwin steering system. This technology is a pre-requisite for automated driving. The Servotwin enables automatic steering for functions such as lane-keeping assistance and cross-wind compensation.

Bosch has a demonstration truck that shows how the Servotwin and multi-purpose camera work together in lane-keeping functions.