German electronics and engineering conglomerate Bosch has announced that it will construct a €1.1 billion semiconductor plant. The facility will focus solely on producing and developing components for self-driving cars. The announcement represents the biggest single investment in the fabled history of Bosch.
Representatives for the German multinational confirmed that the factory will be built in the Dresden. Its primary focus will be to produce chips needed for autonomous vehicles and self-driving technology. In addition to this, it will also develop chips for smart homes and internet-linked infrastructure in 2021.
The news is a welcome boost for the local economy in Dresden as the new semiconductor plant will create around 700 jobs. It is estimated that construction on the innovative project will be complete by 2019.
Bosch CEO, Volkmar Denner said it was a logical step for the organization as the demand for semiconductors surge. Denner said, "Expanding our production capacity will help us boost our competitive position. It's evident that the use of semiconductors is growing as "connectivity and automation rise."
Bosch established itself on a global scale as a manufacturer of car parts such as braking systems and combustion engines. However, it is also been a software developer for a lengthy time and has invested in modern technologies forced primarily by changes in the automotive industry. The German conglomerate which is headquartered in Gerlingen, has developed chips in a diverse range of products for over forty years. It has more recently developed chips for smartphones.
In April of this year, Bosch announced that it was forming an alliance with German car manufacturers Mercedes-Benz and Daimler AG in order to help them accelerate self-driving cars, which represents the future of the industry. Bosch already has a chip plant in Reutlingen which is located in the south of the country, that facility is a leading producer of sensors, but the market demand is expected to soar with the continued development of autonomous vehicles and the emergence of 'smart machines'.
Bosch has faced criticism from some quarters in the past over its alleged role in helping car manufacturers evade diesel-emissions rules that caused huge disruption and controversy in the auto industry. However, it has embarked on a number of projects aimed at improved connectivity and cleaner cities.
A spokesman for Bosch confirmed that the chips developed in the factory at Dresden will be added to diverse Bosch products including airbag sensors, autonomous steering, pressure gauges and communication technologies.