Daimler and automotive supplier Robert Bosch Group plan to bring self-driving taxis to major cities within the next three years.
The companies have forged a development agreement to bring fully automated and fully autonomous driving to urban streets. The autonomous vehicles will provide shared rides and robotaxi pickups for customers tapping into their smartphones and tablets.
The partners will bring two levels of the technology to market – fully automated, or Level 4 by Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE International); and fully autonomous and self-driving, or Level 5, by SAE standards. The partners will develop software and algorithms to an autonomous driving system tapping into Daimler’s premium vehicle manufacturing expertise with the system and hardware expertise of a major global automotive supplier in Bosch.
The end goal is to help improve traffic flow in crowded cities, enhance vehicle safety, and to add to the new technology shaping how traffic management will work in the future. Daimler thinks that it will boost attraction for carsharing services. Riders with or without driver’s licenses can tap into a time-sensitive transport option to quickly go from Point A to Point B.
Along with its global carsharing division Car2Go, Daimler has been showing a lot of interest in shared rides and robotaxi services. Last year through its mobility subsidiary Moovel Group, the company acquired taxi booking app Mytaxi, route planner RideScout, and mobile ticketing service GlobeSherba. Customers using these integrated services can take care of their transport needs like reading public transport schedules, buying a ticket, and setting up a ride through a mobility service provider all on their mobile device.
Bosch has been playing a significant role in bringing automated driving systems to market. Customers have included Google, Tesla, and Porsche. Demand for its driver assistance and safety features have been behind those alliances.
The company recently forged an agreement with self-driving tech company Nvidia to develop an artificial intelligent self-driving car computer for production vehicles. Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division is also working with Nvidia. Earlier this year, the automaker announced it will bring out a production vehicle by early 2018 tapping into Nvidia’s artificial intelligence computer.