Bosch acquires Five to lead automated driving software

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Bosch has today announced its acquisition of Five, an automated driving technology start-up based in the UK, to accelerate development of self-driving cars.

Bosch Five

Five employs 140 staff at six locations in the United Kingdom, working on the vision of safe, self-driving vehicles. The company gave preference to Bosch over two other takeover bidders, Bosch revealed in a statement announcing the acquisition.

“Automated driving is set to make road traffic safer. We want Five to give an extra boost to our work in software development for safe automated driving, and offer our customers European-made technology,” said Dr Markus Heyn, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector.

Headquartered in Cambridge, Five is to be part of the Bosch Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division. Agreements with Five were signed at the beginning of April and financial details will not be disclosed, the companies said. The acquisition is still subject to approval by antitrust authorities.

Stan Boland, CEO of Five, said: “Scale matters in building automated driving technology. Bosch is a global leader in driving assistance technologies, with core technologies and vast data lakes that will be essential in bringing safe self-driving systems to market.”

Since its establishment in 2016, Five has built up expertise in cloud software, safety assurance, robotics and machine learning, developing AI-based solutions for autonomous driving through SAE Level 4.

The start-up now focuses primarily on a cloud-based development and testing platform for the software used in self-driving cars. This offers engineers the programs they need to create automated driving software at pace and test it before its deployment in test vehicles. The platform can analyse real data from a fleet of test vehicles, create advanced testing scenarios and build a simulation environment that makes it possible to assess and validate system behaviour at hyper-scale.

Bosch said Five will strengthen its agile project structure for development of self-driving cars, with the two teams’ software engineering environments to merge, forming a single solution.

Recently, Bosch extended its portfolio by acquiring Atlatec GmbH, a high-resolution digital maps specialist. Automated driving remains a strategic focus for the company, which is taking a two-pronged approach.

Bosch is developing solutions for private vehicles with a focus on driver assistance and on partially and conditionally automated systems (SAE Levels 1 to 3), as well as working on solutions for higher levels of automation with a focus on fleet vehicles and new operating models. Bosch said it sees particular potential in the logistics sector for SAE Level 4 automated driving systems.