Sustainable Cities and Communities

SDG 11: Smart cities

More than half of the world’s population now lives in cities. According to UN forecasts, the figure will rise to 70 percent by 2050. Urbanization brings forth numerous challenges for road traffic, including congestion, a lack of parking spots, and high levels of pollutant emissions. Together with its partners, Bosch develops solutions that aim to make urban traffic cleaner, safer, and more comfortable.

The world’s cities are growing rapidly, with serious consequences in some respects. For instance, in Shanghai, limits for particulate matter are exceeded every day. In London, Paris, and Brussels, rush-hour traffic comes to a standstill on almost 40 percent of all streets. New strategies are needed to ease the burden on urban infrastructure and the environment. Renewable energies, eco-friendly construction, and alternative mobility concepts are considered important building blocks for the sustainable city. E-mobility, better public transport, and sharing principles are gaining support from a growing number of people. The key to sustainable cities could also lie in digitization: apps, smart navigation systems, and connected parking make life easier for city dwellers while at the same time reducing emissions. 


Using rather than owning 

A growing number of city dwellers do not want their own car. With the Coup e-scooter sharing service, Bosch has offered Berliners a flexible and low-carbon alternative to owning a vehicle since August 2016. Using an app, customers can locate, reserve, and pay for an e-scooter rental – and then start their ride immediately. Together with fleet users, Bosch is now further developing its offer based on a “test and learn” method. In cooperation with Bosch Vietnam, three Vietnamese universities have also offered a similar service since November 2016. As part of the “Green Challenge” competition in 2015, students also developed a free e-scooter sharing system for university students.

In addition to congested roads, the limited number of parking spots poses a problem in many cities. One solution could be the flexible use of different forms of transport, a service that Bosch has been testing in the Stuttgart region since the start of 2017. The company has installed 2,500 sensors at 15 Park & Ride parking spots. Via an app that provides real-time information, commuters can now drive to free parking spots close to train stations and continue their journeys on public transit.


Connected for the future

A closer look at global CO2 targets shows that powertrain electrification will become an integral part for the future of mobility. For this reason, Bosch spends some 400 million euros each year to drive e-mobility forward. This not only includes further developing battery technology, but also infrastructure. In order for e-mobility to achieve a breakthrough, solutions must be developed that make battery charging easy. In cooperation with different carmakers, among them Mercedes-Benz and smart, the Bosch Software Innovations subsidiary has developed charging apps that connect the charging stations of different providers to one another. App users can thus find out at a glance where the next free charging station is located and make direct payments. With 3,700 stations, 80 percent of public charging stations in Germany are already connected to one another.



Speeding through the city

Since 2016, Bosch technicians in Brussels have been using e-cargo bikes to get to their customers. The electric bicycles are equipped with a drive designed by Bosch and further on command a Nyon navigation system, which Bosch developed especially for e-bikes. This allows the technicians to travel through the city and get to their appointments with customers quickly and safely. Once they have arrived, there is no need to waste valuable time looking for a parking spot. They can simply leave their e-bikes outside the building.

City life 2.0

The Shipyard Community in San Francisco has shown what the neighborhoods of the future could look like, with clean, locally produced energy, city dwellers running their errands with e-scooters, and people looking for parking spots with an app. 12,000 homes are being built there, in addition to 500 hectares of commercial space and 3.5 hectares of green space. Not only is the San Francisco Shipyard the biggest building project in the history of the city, it will also be the first smart urban community in which people can live and work sustainably in a connected environment. In this neighborhood, technology is much more than an add-on: it holds everything together. It can be found in cars, houses, and on the street, and connects individual components to one another so they can interact in real time. 

The SF Shipyard is a project of Five Point, which is a subsidiary of Lennar Corporation, a real estate development company. Bosch has provided many of the technical products and services. Not only does the company offer solutions in the areas of smart homes and connected driving, it has the technical expertise required to develop the smart community of the future. For instance, where customers used to simply install a security camera, they now demand full security solutions – and both partners are striving to deliver these. 

The city of the future

How good is the neighborhood’s air quality? From the very beginning of the SF Shipyard building project, the microclimate monitoring system overlooked the air quality in the area. Via wireless sensors, the system measures the toxin content in the air. In the future, the system will make the lives of Shipyard inhabitants easier, for instance with the help of the Smart Community App that Bosch helped develop. The app can be used to access community-related information in real time. For example, the service informs users of special offers at local businesses, the shuttle bus’s current location, and the subway schedule. This encourages people to use public transit, and thus helps reduce CO2. Bosch is currently also working on modifying car travel to make it more comfortable and fuel-efficient for app users. In the future, a connected parking guidance system will display the route to the next available parking spot. The community’s energy supply also plays a key role in reducing CO2 emissions: the DC micro-grid storage system, which Bosch already installed at a Honda plant in California in 2015, could also be introduced at varied locations. The power generated with solar cells on the roofs of parking garages is fed directly into the grid and used for lighting and ventilation.