Bosch buys automotive start-up Five to develop self-driving cars

Bosch has acquired the automotive start-up Five AI. With the acquisition, the company wants to become a bigger player in the market for self-driving cars. Five AI will become part of Bosch’s cross-domain computing solutions division.

That writes Bosch in a press release. How much Bosch paid for the start-up has not been disclosed. Five AI develops a platform for autonomous driving and safety up to level 4 autonomy. It specializes, among other things, in software that allows self-driving cars to function better in traffic jams, with Traffic Jam Chauffeur. All 140 employees of Five will be employed by Bosch.

Five AI was founded in 2016 in the UK and the company has already had several public tests of autonomous driving cars, including in London. Today, the company mainly focuses on developing a cloud platform for self-driving cars and a test platform for software used in self-driving cars.

It is Bosch’s second acquisition in the automotive industry in a short time. Beginning of March the company acquired software developer Atlatec, a company that develops high-resolution maps for autonomous driving. That company came about as a spin-off from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology.

Bosch has been active in the self-driving car market for much longer. In 2015, Bosch and TomTom already tested maps for self-driving cars and in 2016 they showed a car that could drive independently on the track. In 2018, Bosch announced that it was working on autonomous taxis with Daimler. About 10,000 of these were to be deployed autonomously by 2021. That plan has not been realized, although there was a pilot in the US in 2019.

Today, Bosch mainly develops sensors for self-driving cars, such as an ‘affordable’ lidar, announced in 2020, and is a major supplier of autonomous driving equipment and software to car manufacturers. In addition to the Mercedes-Benz Group, Bosch has also been working with a Volkswagen subsidiary, Cariad, to develop a platform for autonomous driving since early 2022.