Mercedes-Benz F015 Luxury in Motion concept, 2015 Consumer Electronics Show
Two major names are gearing up to enter the self-driving car race. German automaker Daimler and automotive supplier Bosch announced plans to bring a self-driving taxi service to Silicon Valley in 2019, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
Both companies called the self-driving car plans a passenger shuttle service but did not provide specifics or details. It’s unclear how many cars Daimler and Bosch will deploy or where exactly the service will launch. The two German companies said negotiations with municipalities with Silicon Valley are ongoing.
The news of a self-driving taxi service follows the two companies’ previous partnership. Daimler and Bosch announced in 2017 that they would join forces to work on a Level 5 self-driving car. Work will first begin on a Level 4 car, which can handle nearly all driving functions save for poor weather and unmapped roads, but a true self-driving car could be ready within the next decade.
The previous partnership and the self-driving taxi service will also see Nvidia supply the hardware chips and artificial intelligence platform called Drive Pegasus. The platform can handle 320 trillion operations per second and a terabyte of data bandwidth each and every second. According to the report, Bosch is also working on its own ECU to handle self-driving car functions, but it will source Nvidia chips for the time being.
As for Daimler, the automaker will supply the vehicles, or “hardware,” and test facilities for the self-driving vehicles. The automaker did not specify which cars it would bring into the program, but Uwe Keller, Daimler’s head of autonomous driving, said the S-Class and B-Class are candidates. Both cars will be used in development, but the final vehicle for the shuttle service hasn’t been decided.
Daimler and Bosch will face stiff competition from two frontrunners in the self-driving car race. Waymo plans to launch its first robo taxi service later this year in Phoenix, Arizona, while General Motors gears up to commercialize self-driving cars in 2019.