Bosch Sees Crypto Micropayments Between Autonomous Cars in its Future

In December, the 131-year old industrial firm bought crypto IOTA tokens

Orr Hirschauge and Asaf Shalev 15:5609.02.18
Robert Bosch GmbH, a tier one auto parts maker, invested in cryptocurrencies in December, becoming one of the few multinational companies to openly do so. This 131-year old industrial firm is betting on distributed ledgers as it transforms itself into a data monetization company, says Tal Dekel, Bosch’s senior technology scout in Israel.


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“This investment represents Bosch’s transition from a hardware company to a company that deals with data and monetization of data.” Mr. Dekel said in an interview Thursday.


Autonomous driving (Illustrative). Photo: Shutterstock Autonomous driving (Illustrative). Photo: Shutterstock



Of all the cryptocurrencies on the market, Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH, the company’s venture capital arm, purchased IOTA tokens. The IOTA network is distinguished from blockchain networks as it uses an architecture that allows machines to transmit data or make micropayments to other machines seamlessly. Meanwhile, Bosch also joined the IOTA Foundation’s advisory board.


Mr. Dekel said that the IOTA investments follow logically from Bosch’s increasing emphasis on manufacturing sensors for autonomous vehicles.


Bosch sees a number of applications for IOTA in a world where vehicles are communicating and negotiate with one another autonomously. One example Mr. Dekel gave is platooning—that is, when autonomous cars group together closely on a highway to reduce friction and thus fuel consumption. Platooning is similar to how professional cyclists and also birds move information to improve aerodynamics. With IOTA, cars wanting to platoon and take advantage of fuel savings could make payments to the car upfront.  



“Selling sensors is one thing, but selling the data collected by the sensors can lead to with higher profit margins,” he said. “Bosch sees data business as its growth engine for the future.”

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