Autonomous vehicles are coming to California in 2019 thanks to Daimler, Bosch and Nvidia
Update: Bosch and Daimler have announced that tests to their autonomous ride-hailing service will commence in San Jose, California, in the second half of 2019.
The trials will use Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles to transport users between the downtown and San Carlos/ Stevens Creek areas of the city, by using a ride-hailing app. San Jose will serve as the pilot city for the service’s trial. The city’s population is expected to grow 40% in the next 20 years, and so the city was chosen so the service could help as a solution to growing transport issues.
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Bosch and Daimler have today announced their first autonomous vehicle pilot city in Silicon Valley, California. While this sounds like a fairly futuristic venture, we’ll be seeing results sooner than you’d think; late 2019 has been revealed as the ETA for an automated vehicle shuttle service to be up and running in designated parts of California.
Daimler Mobility has emerged as the operator of the test fleet, and will be providing the app-based service. Meanwhile, Bosch has collaborated, with staff from both companies temporarily merging engineering HQs in Stuttgart, Germany, and Sunnyvale, California. Both companies will finance the venture together.
The (artificial) brains behind the operation? Well, they’re brought to you by Nvidia, the technology company based in Santa Clara, California. Best known by many for their consumer graphics cards, Nvidia is actually an AI-powerhouse and is responsible for the artificial intelligence platform powering the endeavour. With a computing capacity of hundreds of trillion operations per second, we don’t doubt the Nvidia system’s horsepower responsible for processing, interpreting and translating the data harvested by in-house sensors into safe, specific and accurate driving commands.
As for the products themselves, there’ll be a fleet of vehicles in addition to an automated shuttle service on routes into the city where the tech is debuting. For their part, Bosch and Daimler hope to explore how services such as car-sharing, ride-hailing and multi-modal platforms can be manipulated to improve the future of transport.
It’s expected that the new line of services will boost mobility opportunities for those without drivers’ licenses or the ability to operate a vehicle. Both companies are using their extensive knowledge of the automotive sector to guarantee only the best tech; which translates as mature and, ultimately, safe.
This was reiterated by Dr. Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Daimler AG, who allayed any potential fears, assuring that “the decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system. 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. If in doubt, thoroughness comes before speed.”
This was corroborated by Dr. Stephan Hönle, senior VP of the Business Unit Automated Driving at Robert Bosch GmbH, who commented: “Developing automated driving to a level ready for series production is like a decathlon. It’s not enough to be good in one or two areas. Like us, you have to master all disciplines. Only then will we succeed in bringing automated driving to the roads and the city safely.”
There you have it; the age-old adage rings true: safety first, automated driving second.