Another autonomous vehicle testing project will be launched in the United States in 2019. Mercedes-Benz’s parent company, Daimler, and Bosch, an automotive tech and hardware giant, will partner in an agreement to launch this autonomous vehicle pilot project in San Jose, California.
Beginning in the second half of 2019, the project will be an on-demand ride hailing service. The program will use autonomous Mercedes-Benz S Class vehicles as autonomous taxis in a restricted area between downtown and west San Jose. The rides will be monitored by two safety drivers who can take control of the Sedan in case of an emergency. Selected people will have access to the ride-hailing app operated by Daimler.
This announcement places Daimler and Bosch on the same track as General Motors but slightly behind Google former’s autonomous driving company Waymo. General Motors is expected to launch an autonomous vehicle pilot program in the second half of 2019, while Waymo plans to do the same even sooner. Daimler and Bosch, however, are the first to partner directly with the city’s government, giving them access to the traffic signal system and allowing them to improve the self-driving experience. Daimler and Bosch have a set goal of releasing a self-driving car by 2021.
“San Jose is entering the demonstration agreement with an eye toward solving transportation challenges, like mitigating traffic and congestion, that are expected to intensify as the population grows 40 percent in the next 22 years.” voiced John Ristow, the acting director of transportation of San Jose. The city’s mayor Sam Liccardo added “The pilot project is an opportunity to explore how autonomous vehicles can help us better meet future transportation needs.”
In the past, the two companies have collaborated in an automated valet system in Stuttgart, Germany. Bosch is also currently building a $1.1B facility for the production of semiconductors for autonomous vehicles, smart homes, and smart cities.
“We have to rethink urban transportation. Automated driving will help us complete the picture of future urban traffic,” said the Senior Vice-President of the Automated Driving business unit at Bosch, Dr. Stephan Hönle.