Daimler launches autonomous project as Ford says it is open to driverless sharing

12 November 2018

12 November 2018

Daimler and Bosch have announced a new self-driving autonomous vehicle trial in the US city of San José as it plans to launch a network of self-driving services.

The project will launch in the second half of 2019, and will use level 4 and level 5 autonomy recently announced by both companies. Using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles, Daimler and Bosch propose to offer the service to a selected user community in the San Carlos/Stevens Creek corridor between downtown and west San José.

′Since many years we consequently push autonomous driving. With this pilot we will generate valuable insights to connect fully automated vehicles in the best way with users of future mobility services,’ says Michael Hafner, Vice President Drive Technologies and Automated Driving at Daimler AG.

The on-demand ride-hailing service app operated by Daimler Mobility Services will demonstrate how mobility services such as car sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi) and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can be intelligently connected. The test operation will provide information about how fully automated vehicles can be integrated into a multi-modal transportation network. The intent is to provide a seamless digital experience, in which a selected user community will have the opportunity to hail a self-driving car, monitored by a safety driver, from a designated pick-up location and drive automatically to their destination.

Daimler and Bosch aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance road safety, and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future. Among other things, with cars coming to drivers, not the other way around, the companies believe the technology will boost the attraction of car sharing, and allow people to make the best possible use of their time they spend in their vehicles. It will also open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s licence.

Daimler and Bosch associates involved in the development project work together in teams in two regions: in the greater Stuttgart area in Germany and, in the United States, around Sunnyvale in Silicon Valley between San José and of San Francisco.

Ford development

Meanwhile, Ford has said that it is open to working with other carmakers on expanding its self-driving services globally.

Speaking to the Financial Times, Sherif Marakby, CEO of Ford Autonomous Vehicles, said collaborating in other regions ′totally makes a lot of sense’.

′The autonomous vehicle development and business costs billions and billions of dollars in one region, so when trying to deploy this across multiple regions it makes sense to be joining in on the risk and the reward.’

The ′opportunity to co-invest not just in the technology but the business and go-to-market and share the reward of that, it does make sense,’ he added.

Ford, which is also in talks with possible external investors for its own self-driving unit, is focusing on building the services it will roll out from 2021 so that it can deploy ′at scale’, Marakby said.

The US-based manufacturer is testing potential services in Miami and Washington DC, with partnerships with Domino’s and Postmates.