Bosch Outlines Plans for AI in the New Decade

Research into and development of artificial intelligence (AI) has been a dominant endeavor for the past 2 decades. With the new decade upon us, it looks like the fervor around AI won’t be quieting anytime soon. In their press conference at CES 2020, Bosch presented a roadmap of their AI goals for the foreseeable future.

Led by Michael Bolle, Member of the Bosch Board of Management, and Mike Mansuetti, President of Bosch North America, the company outlined how it wanted to build “beneficial AI.” Instead of listing product after product, as many companies usually do for these conferences, Bosch focused more on what steps needed to be taken to create “beneficial AI.” In particular, they highlighted the need for 1) creating more powerful AI solutions and 2) educating and upscaling the workforce to be more AI savvy and more accepting of AI innovations.

To accomplish the former, Bosch has been investing over 4 billion dollars annually in AI software development. In addition, they noted their recent developments:

  • Bosch’s SoundSee system uses AI to detect anomalies in machinery. Currently used at the International Space Station, SoundSee will be used to keep the space station running properly.
  • Direct, bright sunlight can cause discomfort and distractions for drivers, and while the sun visors in cars can block sunlight, they also reduce visibility as well. Bosch’s Virtual Visor uses a liquid crystal display, a camera, and AI to calculate where the sun will hit driver’s eyes and darken that part of the visor. The rest will be transparent, meaning little reduction in visibility. The Virtual Visor was a CES Best of Innovation Award recipient.
  • Without the need for eye-tracking technology and 3D glasses, Bosch developed a 3D Vehicle Display to cater to the needs of drivers. This display will provide information in a more accessible way, particularly its heads-up display, than tradition car dashboards.

With regards to their second deliverable, both Bolle and Mansuetti recognized the difficulty of changing the narrative surrounding AI and technology in general. Often, it is portrayed as potentially dangerous or too complex to comprehend. Bosch wants to change this narrative, creating AI that is safe, robust and explainable. To do so, Bosch is making the rules and parameters behind AI decisions comprehensible. The workforce will be educated and upskilled, making them more amenable to AI-infused products and advancements.

In the end, Bosch’s press conference was less about products – although they did mention some like CES Best of Innovation Award recipient Virtual Visor – and more about what Bosch’s approach to AI would be in the coming decade. With AI likely becoming more prevalent with the rollout of 5G technology, this approach and perspective is incredibly insightful and needed. Technological improvements are not always about what immediate products can be made, but what future innovations have yet to be discovered. Bosch’s press conference truly focused on the future to come, a future filled with AI.

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