STUTTGART – Robert Bosch announced a push into parking, charging and maintenance services for electric and self-driving vehicles as it posted flat annual operating profit on Wednesday.
Bosch said it was in talks to expand a research alliance on autonomous vehicles and planned to invest 4 billion euros ($4.6 billion) to develop self-driving cars by 2022.
Bosch has 4,000 engineers working on autonomous vehicles technology and is working with Daimler to develop self-driving cars.
"We always said we are open for others to become partners, and there are talks," CEO Volkmar Denner said.
Bosch said the market potential for on-demand ride-hailing using self-driving robotaxis was huge, citing Roland Berger analyst estimates for a market worth $160 billion by 2035.
"Bosch will offer bot technology and services for this form of mobility," the company said.
Bosch plans to expand into reservations, payment and parking, recharging, maintenance and infotainment, pitting it against automakers which are expanding into pay-per-minute mobility services.
The supplier has been on an expansion push in electromobility, buying 30 electromobility projects worth several billion euros. By 2025, Bosch aims to increase its sales in the area to 5 billion euros, the supplier said.
Bosch has already entered strategic partnerships with start-up automakers including China's Nio and Byton and Germany's StreetScooter.
The supplier said 2018 sales rose 1.5 percent to 77.9 billion euros thanks to a 2.3 percent increase in sales from its automotive division which accounted for 47 billion in sales.
Earnings before interest and tax reached 5.3 billion euros, the company said. In 2019, Bosch hopes to continue to secure its high level of earnings, the supplier said.
Sales of driver assistance systems would generate 2 billion euros in sales this year, Bosch said, adding that it had let go of 600 staff working on diesel engines after a slump in demand.
Denner also said Bosch was selling its packaging technology division and expected to complete a sale in the third quarter.