Bosch and Daimler to pilot automated driving in Californian metropolitan area in 2019


Bosch and Daimler are speeding up the development of fully automated urban driving and will offer customers an autonomous shuttle service on selected routes in an unnamed Californian metropolis in the second half of 2019. 

The companies have announced that a major city in Silicon Valley will host the pilot, and Daimler Mobility Services is envisaged as the operator of the test fleet and the app-based mobility service.

The pilot project will demonstrate how Daimler’s mobility services, and its subsidiary brands, such as carsharing (car2go), ridehailing (mytaxi) and multi-modal platforms (moovel), can be intelligently connected to shape the future of urban transport.

The two companies have selected and signed an agreement with the USA-based computing company Nvidia, which will provide its Drive Pegasus platform powered by high performance AI (artificial intelligence) automotive processors, along with system software that will process the vehicle-driving algorithms generated by Bosch and Daimler using machine-learning methods. 

The California pilot project will provide information about how fully automated and driverless vehicles can be integrated into a multi-modal transport network, in an area where many cities face challenges that are increasingly burdening their existing transport systems. The testing program is designed to show how the new technology might be a solution to these challenges. 

With their development cooperation on fully automated and driverless driving in urban environments, which began in April 2017, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road, and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future.

The technology will, among other things, boost the attraction of carsharing, and will also allow people to make the best possible use of their time in the vehicle, as well as open up new mobility opportunities for non-drivers. 

Bosch and Daimler employees already work together, with teams sharing the same office space, in two regions: the greater Stuttgart area in Germany; and around Sunnyvale, to the south of San Francisco in the USA.

This ensures rapid communication across working disciplines and shorter decision-making paths, with the partners equally financing the project’s development work. Bosch is responsible for the components, including sensors, actuators and control units, and Daimler’s task is to bring the drive systems into the vehicle. 

“The decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system,” explained Dr Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Daimler. “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.” 

Dr Stephan Hönle, SVP of Bosch’s automated driving business unit, added, “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; you have to master all disciplines. Only then will we succeed in bringing automated driving to the roads and the city safely.” 

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).