Auston Payyappilly's coworkers know him as the go-to guy for getting answers. Whether it's about mechanics, software or electronics hardware or other technologies, Auston has insights to share.
His eclectic knowledge made him a fitting person to have on hand at the 2024 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. There, Bosch showcased for the first time one of its latest innovations, the Cockpit & ADAS integration platform using a single "system on chip" (SoC) processor.
Auston led the demonstration, a project that tied together units from across Bosch's global business. "There was no single SoC in the world that could do this a year ago. It's a new trend now, but look down the road in five years and you will see many SoC suppliers bringing up such SoCs."
The platform is customizable according to customer need, reduces complexity and cost, and brings automated driving features to a greater number of vehicle segments. It does this by consolidating different mobility systems, or "domains", into one box. ADAS covers functions related to driver assistance such as 3D surround view, automated parking, adaptive cruise control and lane centering, and how camera, ultrasonics and radars work together to support these functions. Cockpit systems, another key domain, run the gamut of the latest technology inside the vehicle, from infotainment and navigation to interior sensing and driver/occupant monitoring. (See sidebar for more technical specifics.)
"It's hardware and software — you need to be able to understand how they talk to each other."
The project also ties together the long and growing list of skills Auston has built up during his lifetime, including nine years with Bosch. He started out in infotainment systems and steadily expanded deeper into cockpit systems, electrical/electronic architecture, ADAS, video perception, AI and cloud software.
"I always liked cars. When I was a child, I used to know every car on the road. I could identify cars in a glance. I still love cars and anything around design and technologies seen in cars."
It was design more than mechanics that first drew his eye. "If you asked me in the 12th grade what I wanted to do, it would have been more like a mix of architecture and design. We designed our house in India. We wanted certain things, like a patio, split levels and different slope combinations in the ceiling. I did a lot of the design work with the contractor."
But he instead chose computer science in college. That led to forming a startup with other students. The main product was a smart power device that detected when plugged-in devices weren't being used and would accordingly draw down power usage. (A successor to the company continues to this day.)
As any entrepreneur will confirm, the startup life delivers a bracing mix of experiences in short order. The founders do everything. "You need to be an all-rounder and a leader."
The crash course in business rounded out his knowledge. (And when it comes to mechanical engineering, he can just ask his brother, Vinod Payyapilly, a mechanical engineer by training who now works as a Bosch software architect in Germany.)
During and after the startup time, Auston worked for an automotive supplier that took him from India to Japan to the United States. There he took up an offer to work at Bosch in Michigan, where he found more opportunities to stretch his knowledge.
Given the range of experiences, Auston can speak just about anyone's work language. "When I talk to customers, I know when to talk not too technically. If I'm talking to a marketing person, I know to go broad. With an engineer, I go deep. And with sales, it's a mix."
Auston led the demonstration project for CES, where visitors experienced the power of the Cockpit & ADAS integration platform through the many displays, cameras and features it drives.
His eye for design didn't go to waste, either. He and a fellow Bosch associate designed and built a trailer attached to the rear of the demonstration vehicle. This showcased a new feature on the integration platform — the vehicle's connection to a smart home. The vehicle can detect if a driver is getting drowsy and ask, through a voice assistant, if the driver wants a coffee. If the answer is "yes", a coffee is automatically brewed ahead of arriving at home. At CES, this was demonstrated in the Bosch bean-to-cup espresso machine in the trailer.
"Being agile and thinking one step ahead is something that helps me." And it helps drivers, too.
Bosch Cockpit & ADAS integration platform