The automotive supplier Bosch and the carmaker Daimler have started a self-driving taxi service in San José, California. The autonomous S-class vehicles are to commute between the district of West San José and the center, Both companies announced on December 9th, The vehicles would be monitored by a security driver. With an app developed by Daimler Mobility AG, users could book the taxis, board at a defined pick-up location and drive to their destination.
Daimler and Bosch had announced their cooperation in the development of self-driving cars in April 2017. In November 2018, San José was named the location of the test fleet. The two companies rely on the platform Drive PX Pegasus from chip manufacturer Nvidia.
According to the announcement, both companies hope for the project "Further valuable knowledge for the development of their automated driving system according to SAE-Level 4/5", These levels mean that the vehicles can take over completely certain driving tasks themselves or be completely without a human driver. In addition, the companies expect to find out "how self-driving cars can be integrated into an intermodal mobility system with, for example, public transport and car sharing",
Bosch and Mercedes-Benz are working closely together to develop self-propelled systems. For this purpose, both companies use, among other things, the new Daimler test center for autonomous driving in Baden-Württemberg Immendingen. Neural networks and fast computers play a crucial role. The focus is therefore not on prototypes, but on a production-ready system that can be integrated into different vehicle types and models.
However, the American competition, especially the Google sister Waymo, seems a bit ahead in the development of autonomous cars. For example, the company is already transporting passengers without safety drivers. However, the passenger service Uber had to suffer a severe setback in its developments as a result of a fatal accident. For the accident, the US Department of Transportation NTSB made an inadequate fault culture at Uber jointly responsible.