Bosch and Microsoft Azure are to create a joint, cloud-based software platform to tap into this fast-growing, €20 billion market.
The two companies will also collaborate on the associated development tools, according to the German website heise.
The plan is to enable all the control units and vehicles’ computers to receive software updates over the air (OTA) across vehicles’ whole lifecycles, and equip them with new functions as the need arises.
Tests to start in 2021
The companies intend to start testing vehicles with the new software platform from the end of 2021.
Bosch has already developed some software components that work with Microsoft Azure for this purpose, but new platform is intended to shorten innovation cycles and help reduce the development costs of vehicle software.
In particular, Bosch wants to provide better support to car manufacturers for developing and deploying new functions more quickly.
Bosch, which makes electrical and electronic systems for vehicles, reckons this opportunity has such great potential it has opened a new line of business with around 17,000 employees in 20 countries.
The market is currently worth about €20 billion with annual growth of 15%.
One of the biggest challenges of over-the-air services for vehicles is security, and different models and series of cars all have their own variations, which creates complexity and inhibits economies of scale.
Bosch is expert at producing individual functions and associated control units, which is now wants to exploit in its development of the middleware or platform, to merge the cloud and vehicle software architectures and thereby simplify updates.
Microsoft Azure and Bosch intend to evolve software tools to enable manufacturers and suppliers to work faster and more efficiently on all security requirements.
Key part of the new software platform will be made available as open source on GitHub.com for developers.
Microsoft's Scott Guthrie said, "Software is increasingly becoming a key differentiator in the automotive industry. Our goal is to help companies bring unique mobility services to cars and commercial vehicles faster and on a large scale."