Daimler and Bosch will launch a shuttle service with driverless vehicles in a city in Northern California’s Silicon Valley in second-half 2019, the automaker and automotive supplier announce.
Daimler will provide vehicles for research, test facilities and, later, vehicles for the test fleet. Bosch will be responsible for the autonomous vehicles’ sensors, actuators, control units and other components, say the German companies, which have teams of developers working side-by-side in the Stuttgart, Germany, region and around Sunnyvale, CA, south of San Francisco.
Nvidia, a Santa Clara, CA-based technology company, will supply the artificial-intelligence platform for a control-unit network running algorithms developed by Daimler and Bosch. The control units collate data from all sensors with radar, video, lidar and ultrasound technology, evaluate them within milliseconds and plan the movements of the vehicle.
Daimler Mobility Services is to operate the test fleet and the app-based mobility service. The pilot project will demonstrate how mobility services such as car sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi) and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can be connected for future mobility.
The companies in a joint news briefing Tuesday do not identify the city where the shuttle service will be deployed or say how many vehicles will comprise the fleet.
The companies are jointly developing a driving system for SAE Level 4/5 (high automation/full automation) vehicles and focusing the new research on urban environments.
“The decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system,” says Dr. Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Daimler. “Safety has the highest priority and is the constant theme of all aspects and development stages on our way to the start of series production.”
Tuesday’s announcement advances the cooperation between Daimler and Bosch on autonomous driving in urban environments that began in April 2017. The companies say the technology is meant to improve traffic flow in cities, enhance road safety, boost the attraction of car sharing and create new mobility options for people without a driver’s license, among other advantages.
Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz unit has had approval to test automated vehicles in the Sunnyvale region since 2014, and received comparable approval for the Sindelfingen/Böblingen, Germany, region since 2016. Bosch says in early 2013 it became the world’s first automotive supplier to test automated driving on public roads in Germany and in the U.S.