Daimler and Bosch to Test Self-Driving Taxis Next Year
The German companies follow in the footsteps of Waymo and GM’s Cruise
Daimler and Bosch say theyâ€™ll test a self-driving car in a ride-hailing service in California in 2019.
The two German companies didnâ€™t say which model Mercedes car or SUV theyâ€™ll use, only that the first self-driving taxis will put safety drivers behind the wheel, just in case, and will incorporate Pegasus, Nvidiaâ€™s self-driving hardware and software package. According to Automotive News, later iterations of the car will use a Bosch system based on Nvidia hardware.
Thereâ€™s a lot the companies didnâ€™t say. For one, they havenâ€™t selected the city in California where the program is to roll out. For another, they havenâ€™t specified which sensors the cars will have, and how many of each kind. Nor do they dwell on whether ride sharing is the long-term model for usage or just a convenient means of testing equipment that, in the pre-mass-market stage, must remain too expensive to buy, even if youâ€™re a Mercedes customer.
The program seems part of a bandwagon effect sparked by Waymo, the industry leader. Waymo designs all its own software and not a little of its hardwareâ€”for instance, it makes its own lidar sensors. Waymoâ€™s been running a ride-hailing service for some time, and late last year it became the first company to manage the job without a safety driver behind the wheel.
GMâ€™s Cruise says that it, too, will ditch the driver in its pilot ride-sharing program next year. Drive.ai is about to start shuttling passengers around a town near Dallas, though it will employ safety drivers for some time to come.