Bosch is expanding its security footprint in the ride-hailing economy.
The global provider showed off a new connected smart camera and 24-hour helpline for ride-hailing app drivers on Tuesday night at the CES 2023 launch in Las Vegas. Bosch said it was working with Gridwise, an app for ride-sharing and delivery drivers, to conduct user research and ensure it is suitable for the market.
The device designed for ride-hailing drivers includes an interior and exterior camera and a lighting element on the front to inform drivers and passengers that the service is active.
The product also comes with a wireless SOS button in the vehicle that the driver can press to activate an emergency call to a Bosch call center. Emergency call operators are available live 24 hours a day and can access a camera view from the RideCare companion device to determine if emergency services should be contacted.
“What makes the Bosch RideCare Companion go beyond just a simple dash cam is that it comes with a service that provides active help from trained call center specialists in the event needed,” Christoph Hartung, president of cross-domain IT solutions for Bosch, said in a statement.
All rides are supervised. But the images, which include encrypted data such as location and a timestamp, are only uploaded to the cloud if an event is triggered via the SOS button or a driver request. Data is processed in accordance with applicable data privacy regulations, according to the company. The device is equipped with a number of tamper evident features and will send an alert if the device’s field of view is compromised or blocked.
The product will be available for sale in early 2023, according to a company spokesperson. It will be marketed to drivers as well as fleets. Bosch has not published pricing for the hardware product and accompanying support service. A company spokesperson said there will be an upfront cost for the device and a subscription model for the support service.
The RideCare Companion builds on the company’s previous sharing economy product “RideCare insight”, which was introduced in 2021. This product detects smoke, damage and rough driving in shared vehicles.
This all-new product not only signals the company’s bet on the growth of human-driven ridesharing services, but also an investment in the future of ridesharing: the robotaxis. The company has not disclosed which ride-sharing companies (including those working on robotaxi services) it works with. A spokesperson acknowledged that Bosch had spoken with a “number of companies” in the market.
The company clearly sees the automated ride-sharing services industry as a possible market for the RideShare product.
“As automated ride-sharing services continue to emerge, a solution like the companion RideCare becomes even more relevant to transparency and passenger safety,” Hartung added.
The product was honored as a CES 2023 Innovation Awards Best of Innovation winner in the In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety category.