Application-independent software from a single source

Bosch consolidates development activities for universal vehicle software under the umbrella of ETAS GmbH

Software defined vehicle
  • Development of application-independent software for vehicles and the cloud to be consolidated under the umbrella of ETAS GmbH
  • Solutions for software-defined vehicles are to be made available to manufacturers and other suppliers more quickly, securely, and efficiently in the future

Stuttgart, Germany, December 7, 2021 – Bosch is taking further strategic steps toward a leading position in the software-dominated future of mobility. Basic vehicle software, middleware, cloud services, and development tools for universal applications will be developed and sold under the umbrella of ETAS GmbH. From mid-2022, a total of 2,300 experts from different development areas of Bosch and ETAS will be merged under ETAS GmbH. “Software development is a longstanding core competence at Bosch. Every year, we put more than 200 million control units running our own software into vehicles worldwide. With this new set-up, we want to become the leading provider of application-independent vehicle software,” says Dr. Stefan Hartung, Chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector of Robert Bosch GmbH.

A year ago, Bosch established its Cross-Domain Computing Solutions division, a powerful unit for application-specific vehicle software with specific hardware for numerous vehicle areas such as driver assistance and infotainment. Now, the portfolio of application-independent software for vehicles and the cloud will be bundled at ETAS. The resulting central platform will allow for a quicker and more efficient development of software together with partners. “Our universal software foundation is essential for the digitalization of modern, software-defined vehicles,” Dr. Stefan Hartung says. Bosch will combine its universal software platform with expertise in the development of innovative software functions. “Thereby we are creating a USP and a significant competitive advantage for Bosch,” says Dr. Markus Heyn, Member of the Board of Management, Robert Bosch GmbH. In the future, ETAS will offer this universal platform and the accompanying development environment to automotive manufacturers and other suppliers.

Software gaining in prominence for automakers

Up to now, the rule was that vehicles were delivered as a finished product. In the future, however, a vehicle’s software will be continuously improved and expanded – throughout its service life. This will give drivers a customized digital user experience, and also form the basis for new business models for manufacturers. This development is just beginning. Experts predict that the market for vehicle software will be worth billions in the next few years. Bosch expects double-digit annual growth until 2030. The organizational realignment Bosch is now planning for its application-independent automotive software units under ETAS bears witness to this transformation. “In the future development of vehicle operating systems, we want to position ourselves even better in the global market,” says Heyn. “With this move, we are providing existing and new customers with an integrated, horizontal, cross-domain platform that will allow them to realize software-defined vehicles,” adds Christoph Hartung, Chairman of the Board of Management of ETAS GmbH. The partnership between Bosch and Microsoft that began in February will also be continued in the new organization. This partnership aims to develop a comprehensive software platform for seamless connectivity between vehicles and the cloud, making it quicker and easier to develop vehicle software throughout the vehicle’s lifetime, as well as to download it to the control units and vehicle computers via the cloud.

Universal and open portfolio for basic software and middleware

Software is already an integral part of almost every function in modern vehicles – for electrically adjusting the seat, recharging the vehicle, deploying the airbag, or listening to the radio. It consists of different layers that build on each other. One layer comprises software modules that vehicle manufacturers use to create individual driving experiences – from the powertrain to infotainment and assistance systems. This is where the individual brands differ, sometimes enormously. Other layers, by contrast, such as the basic software for the control units and what is known as middleware, offer manufacturers almost no room to differentiate. These software components regulate the basic tasks performed by control units and vehicle computers – tasks that the driver doesn’t notice. For example, they manage processor performance and memory space, and they determine how control units communicate with each other or with the cloud to exchange data. Once developed, this software can be used on almost any ECU – regardless of where it is installed in the vehicle and regardless of the vehicle model. This setup is familiar from smartphones, where a wide variety of apps use a central operating system. “Our new set-up will allow us to satisfy new requirements – both of the market and our customers – even better. Together with our partners, we are enabling existing and new customers to take a completely new approach to vehicle software development,” Christoph Hartung says. In the future, open source software and the associated ecosystems will also play an increasingly important role. Vehicle manufacturers and automotive suppliers will thus be able to place software at the center of development even more effectively in the future.

Application-independent software from a single source

ETAS employs some 1,500 associates in 12 countries. 800 Bosch associates will join them in mid-2022. The two companies already work in close and successful cooperation and as a joint unit this will be further intensified. Associate representatives are currently working out the details of the future organization.

About ETAS

Founded in 1994, ETAS GmbH is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group with international sales offices in Europe, North and South America, and Asia. ETAS' portfolio includes vehicle basic software, middleware, and development tools for the realization of software-defined vehicles. Our product solutions and services enable vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to develop and operate them with increased efficiency. Holistic cybersecurity solutions in the automotive sector are offered via the ESCRYPT brand.

Anja Krahl


Annett Fischer

Robert Bosch GmbH