Ten thousand. That’s how many software engineers Bosch plans to hire worldwide in 2022. The Tier 1 giant needs software specialists as electrified, automated and connected vehicles start to shake the dominance of ICE propulsion.
“Talent scarcity is something we’re concerned about and if we just sit back and do nothing about it, then all we’re doing for the next four or five years is complaining about a lack of talent,” Paul Thomas, executive VP of mobility solutions for Bosch in the Americas, said during an interview with SAE Media.
The search for software specialists led Bosch to take an instructor’s seat. “Our IoT apprentice program teaches the fundamentals of software engineering through a tried-and-true apprenticeship model,” explained Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America. That program, which started in 2020, now has its first graduates, none of whom had a background in software.
Arin Minasian, one of five individuals in the inaugural IoT apprenticeship program, moved from California to Michigan, leaving behind a job in finance. “The IoT apprenticeship program was a one-year process, so I had time to digest software concepts and explore the areas that interested me,” Minasian said about the program that emphasized C++ and other computer languages and software concepts. The 37-year-old now works full-time at Bosch as an associate application developer responsible for bench-testing the supplier’s fleet-management software before release to commercial-vehicle customers.
“We’re starting the process to recruit our next group,” Mansuetti said, noting that North American operations intends to hire 500 software engineers this year. In addition to its IoT apprentice program, Bosch’s Mission to Move initiative helps workers in the supplier’s powertrain solutions division learn the basics of software and artificial intelligence. “This effort provides new skills to associates as we experience the shift to electrification,” said Mansuetti.
Software played a major role in the upgrade of one of Bosch’s premier product lines. “All of our new brake systems are 100 percent connected and IoT-ready,” said Rich Nesbitt, head of product management for Bosch chassis systems control in North America. According to Nesbitt, a connected braking system enables faster product development, brings product-development quality upfront via specification refinement and validation and allows for continuous development with over-the-air updates.
“With connectivity, we can add even more value to our brake systems and bring safety to these vehicles in an enhanced way,” he explained.
The ongoing explosion of data is the main byproduct of connectivity. A few years ago, brake systems typically had between 500 and 1000 data channels. “We’re now looking at north of 60,000 data channels being computed on these new brake systems,” Nesbitt said. More data means more knowledge and that information can be uploaded to the cloud. “In the next few years, we’re really going to see an explosion of data and connectivity,” said Nesbitt.
Other Bosch products are making connections via Internet servers. The software-based Battery in the Cloud product enables continuous monitoring of an electric vehicle’s battery. “The Battery in the Cloud gives you a dashboard view of how the battery is performing,” Thomas said about the product being developed in the supplier’s powertrain solutions group.
“We’re leveraging connectivity in the cloud to develop solutions to extend battery life,” said Thomas, noting the product could reduce battery aging by up to 20%.