Bosch and Daimler to pilot automated on-demand ridehailing service in California next year

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Bosch and Daimler have announced that they will be piloting a highly and fully automated driving (SAE Level 4/5) on-demand ridehailing service in the city of San José in California, with the trials due to begin during the second half of 2019.

Using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles, Bosch and Daimler propose to offer the service to a selected user community in the San Carlos/Stevens Creek corridor between downtown and west San José.

The on-demand ridehailing service smartphone application operated by Daimler Mobility Services will demonstrate how mobility services such as carsharing (Car2Go), ridehailing (MyTaxi), and multi-modal platforms (Moovel) can be intelligently connected.

The San José trials will provide information about how highly and 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 autonomously to their destination.

With their joint development work on highly and fully automated driving (SAE level 4/5) in urban environments, the two giants of the German automotive industry aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance road safety, and provide an important building block for the way vehicles will work in the future. Among other things, the technology will boost the attraction of car sharing. Without compromising driving safety, it will allow people to make the best possible use of the time they spend in their vehicles, and open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s license. For San José, the pilot will enable city authorities to prepare for a future with autonomous cars operating on its streets.

Sharing the same office space, Bosch and Daimler staff involved in the development project work together in teams in two regions: the greater Stuttgart area in Germany, and California’s Silicon Valley in the USA.

The two companies are jointly developing the concepts and algorithms for the highly and fully automated drive system, with Daimler providing the test facilities and vehicles for the pilot fleet, and Bosch responsible for the components, such as sensors, actuators, and control units.

Since obtaining its Autonomous Vehicle Testing Permit from the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in 2014, Mercedes-Benz has been testing automated vehicles in the Sunnyvale region, and has had similar approval for the Stuttgart area since 2016. In early 2013, Bosch became the world’s first automotive supplier to test automated driving (SAE level 3) on public roads in Germany and the USA.

“We have been pushing autonomous driving for many years,” noted Dr Michael Hafner, Daimler’s vice president of drive technologies and automated driving. “With this pilot we will generate valuable insights to connect fully automated vehicles in the best way with users of future mobility services.”

Dr Stephan Hönle, senior vice president of Bosch’s automated driving business unit, added, “We have to rethink urban transportation. Automated driving will help us complete the picture of future urban traffic.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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