Bosch is expanding its security footprint in the ride-hailing economy.
On Tuesday evening as CES 2023 kicked off in Las Vegas, the global supplier introduced a new connected smart camera and accompanying 24-hour support line for drivers of ride-hailing apps. Bosch said it's working with Gridwise, an app for ride-share and delivery drivers, to conduct user research and ensure it's the right fit for the market.
The device designed with ride-hailing drivers in mind, includes an interior and exterior camera and a lighting element on the front to let drivers and riders know 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. The 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 need to be contacted.
"What takes the Bosch RideCare companion beyond a simple dashcam is that it is paired with a service that provides active help by trained call center specialists when required," Christoph Hartung, president of cross-domain computing solutions for Bosch, said in a statement.
All rides are monitored. But the footage, which includes encrypted data such as location and a timestamp, is only uploaded to the cloud if an event is triggered via the SOS button or a request from the driver. Data is handled according to applicable data privacy regulations, according to the company. The device is equipped with a number of tamper-resistant features and will send an alert if the field-of-view of the device is compromised or blocked.
The product will be available for sale in the early part of 2023, according to a company spokesperson. It will be marketed to drivers as well as fleets. Bosch didn't release 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.
RideCare companion builds off of the company's previous sharing economy product "RideCare insight," which was introduced in 2021. That product detects smoke, damage and harsh driving in shared vehicles.
This newest product not only signals the company's bet on the growth of human-driven ride-hailing services, but its also an investment in the future of ride-sharing: robotaxis. The company wouldn't reveal which ride-share companies (including those working on robotaxi services) it is working with. A spokesperson did acknowledge Bosch has spoken with a "number of companies" in the market.
The company is clearly eyeing the automated ride-share services industry as a possible market for the RideShare product.
"As automated ride-share services continue to emerge, a solution like RideCare companion becomes even more relevant for passenger transparency and safety," Hartung added.
The product was honored as a CES 2023 Innovation Awards Best of Innovation honoree in the In-Vehicle Entertainment & Safety category.