Bosch CEO: Tech industry interlopers force car industry to react

Tue Feb 17, 2015 9:56am EST
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By Andreas Cremer

BERLIN Feb 17 (Reuters) - The auto industry is stepping up efforts to introduce highly automated cars as software makers Google and perhaps even Apple forge plans to build a vehicle, the chief executive of Bosch said on Tuesday.

Apple has declined to comment on whether it will become a manufacturer of cars, but the speculation about the emergence of a new rival from Silicon Valley is enough to force the established industry to react, analysts and car executives said.

Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said the emergence of a prototype vehicle by Internet giant Google had already demonstrated the potential disruption of an Apple car.

"Google is pushing the theme of self-driving cars very strongly. That's having a very positive effect for the entire automotive industry, because it enormously accelerates the pace of introducing drive-assist systems and semi-automatic functions," he said at a conference in Berlin.

Denner declined to comment on whether Bosch was working together with Apple to develop a car.

"That's something many would like to know but unfortunately I cannot comment. We only talk about customer projects when they're implemented," he said.

Apple is talking to experts at carmakers and automotive suppliers about how to make a self-driving electric car, a senior auto industry source told Reuters.

Itay Michaeli, an auto analyst at Citi, said carmakers such as Ford and General Motors will now redouble efforts to introduce automation features to their vehicle fleet.   Continued...