Bosch Acquires Splitting Fares With an Eye Toward Ride-Sharing

Global auto supplier Bosch has now launched a connected mobility technology division, which includes the acquisition of a US-based ridesharing service startup, Splitting Fares.The plan is for the new division to further extend its existing service portfolio, promoting mobility technologies that can send alerts about wrong-way drivers or turn smartphones into car keys.

An aggressive investor in autonomous vehicle technology, Bosch likely sees the potential for growth in ride-sharing, which encompasses online services and apps for carpools as well as for arranging driving services and taxis.

Splitting Fares has developed a platform that organizations might use to arrange ridesharing for their staff.

The company, founded in 2015, has some 140,000 users in the US, Mexico, and Germany. The company has collected about $1.3 million in venture capital funding, according to CrunchBase.

Its approach is aimed directly at commuters, with an app bringing together user who want to share a ride to the same workplace or place of study.

The main selling point behind the idea is that rides are shared by colleagues, which means users never have to get in the car with complete strangers.

An algorithm is designed to locate a suitable ride-share vehicle, then it calculates the fastest route through traffic, and coordinates the departure point, departure time, best route and passengers.

The chairman of the Bosch board of management, Volkmar Denner, speaking at a company conference in Berlin, said the acquisition is part of their plan to rapidly grow their service portfolio.

By 2022, the number of ride-sharing users worldwide is set to rise by 60% to 685 million, according to a recent Statista report.

To date, most such services have been directed at people who happen to be traveling in the same direction or who want to book a trip at the last minute, while companies and commuters have been seen as less of a priority — something Splitting Fares was angling to change.

“Connectivity will fundamentally change how we get from A to B, and in the process it will help to solve today’s traffic problems,” Denner said. “We are using it to realize our vision of emissions-free, stress-free, and accident-free mobility.”

He went on to explain the company feels connectivity offers tremendous business potential, noting that by 2025, there will be more than 470 million connected vehicles on the world’s roads.

As a PwC report indicates, in only four years from now, the market for mobility services and associated digital services will be worth $175 million.

“Connectivity is a way for us to rethink not just the car but the whole way we use modes of transport,” Denner said. “For Bosch, mobility goes beyond the car. Our expertise puts us in a position to develop and operate cross-application ecosystems.”

Earlier this month Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler and Bosch let the world know”target=”new”> they are partnering on a self-driving taxi that would begin testing itself on city streets in the next few months.

— Nathan Eddy is a filmmaker and freelance journalist based in Berlin. Follow him on Twitter @dropdeaded209_LR.


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