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Bosch buys Five AI to accelerate autonomous driving push

bosch five ai

German multinational engineering company Bosch has acquired self-driving software company Five AI for an undisclosed amount.

Cambridge-headquartered Five AI builds self-driving software components and development platforms to combat the biggest problems in the self-driving car space.

It currently focuses on its modular cloud platform for system development and assurance for self-driving software. This gives engineers the ability to create, test and analyse data from test vehicles.

The acquisition marks Bosch’s latest foray into the autonomous vehicle market. The company, best-known for dishwashers, ovens and other home appliances, has an automated mobility division developing driver assistance systems.

The company has already created the first production-ready driving function for automated valet parking.

And at the CES trade show in 2019, Bosch unveiled a four-person autonomous concept IoT (internet of things) shuttle bus.

“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.

Bosch and Five AI’s software engineering teams will be combined into one. Bosch has also recently acquired high-resolution digital maps company Atlatec GmbH, which means Bosch has now bolstered its offering with mapping and testing driverless car software companies.

Five AI led the UK government’s StreetWise project in 2019, which aimed to demonstrate that autonomous vehicle technology was established enough to be used in urban environments.

Founded in 2015, Five AI employs around 140 staff across six sites in the UK.

The acquisition follows Five AI’s Series B funding in March 2020 for $41m (£31.5m) and its Series A funding in September 2017 for $35m (£26.9m). Five AI’s total funding to date stands at $78.7m (£60.5m).

“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. We’re excited for Five to become part of Europe’s most powerful SAE Level 4 player and to be a part of Bosch’s future success,” said Stan Boland, CEO, Five.

Bosch’s acquisition of Five is subject to approval by antitrust authorities.