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Bosch Service Solutions to invest in U.S. startup Sfara

As part of its plans to further expand its mobility service business, Bosch Service Solutions is acquiring a minority stake in the startup Sfara Inc., based in Hoboken, NJ (USA)

As part of its plans to further expand its mobility service business, Bosch Service Solutions is acquiring a minority stake in the startup Sfara Inc., based in Hoboken, NJ (USA). The two companies have been working together since 2019. Set up in 2012, Sfara offers app-based technologies for mobile devices that detect vehicle collisions and other emergencies. The user’s smartphone triggers then an emergency call, such as the Bosch eCall service, to quickly contact first responders. The two companies signed an agreement on the investment of a minority stake on November 25, 2020. It has been agreed that the financial details will not be disclosed.

“With this investment in Sfara, we are strengthening collaboration between our two companies and will continue our joint effort to expand the successful Bosch eCall emergency and breakdown service,” says Henning von Boxberg, President of Bosch Service Solutions.

The automatic emergency call system – eCall for short – is a milestone in vehicle safety. For newly registered vehicle types, it has been mandatory in the European Union since March 31, 2018. Technology developed by Sfara now makes it possible for drivers to use this digital aide via a smartphone in vehicles without the eCall installed, usually in older vehicles that don’t include the necessary technology. This way, a significantly greater number of road users can benefit from this emergency call system and can automatically get help in the event of an accident. Thanks to the Sfara technology, users can also access eCall outside the vehicle from their smartphones, for example when moving around on foot. “We are delighted to be working with a well-known investor such as Bosch, and pleased that our technology can play a valuable part in expanding Bosch’s global eCall service portfolio,” says Erik Goldman, the CEO of Sfara.

eCall by smartphone, regardless of age of car or means of transport

Smartphone-based eCall means that vehicle manufacturers, auto insurers, and fleet operators can offer a comprehensive accident and breakdown service to their customers – independent of the age of their car or means of transport. A service app for customers’ smartphones is available from the respective provider. In case of an accident, the app connects the user with the Bosch accident and breakdown network. Accelerometers, GPS and other sensors are embedded in modern smartphones. Sfara’s proprietary app-based technology uses sensor fusion to detect accidents and suppress false positives. If an accident is detected, the app automatically triggers an emergency call to a Bosch service location and simultaneously transmits information necessary to get first responders to the scene quickly. An emergency call can also be triggered manually. This connects the user with a member of the service team, who will then contact emergency services, if required. The technology contains optimized crash detection functions that considerably reduce false positives, which are costly to the business and frustrating to end users.

Digital accident and breakdown management

The data for rapid assistance in case of an accident or breakdown is collected by Bosch and can be passed on to vehicle manufacturers, auto insurers, and fleet operators. This speeds up the process for all concerned, since the information includes useful accident data such as the location of impact. The report of an accident can also go hand in hand with a first notification of loss (FNOL). Insurers need this information to carry out smooth claims processing. In accordance with GDPR, only the data needed to perform service is transmitted, based on approval given by the user in advance.

Bosch Service Solutions plans to extend the eCall service further with its partners and make all steps involved in accident and breakdown management available in digital form to its business customers. These range from the first notification of loss or accident, to repair and towing services and the provision of a replacement vehicle and claims management.


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