Bosch and Mercedes-Benzs have launched a pilot project for an app-based ride-hailing service. Using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles, the service has started in San Jose. Monitored by a safety driver, the self-driving cars shuttle between West San Jose and downtown, along San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard.
The service will initially be available to a select group of users. Using an app developed by Daimler Mobility AG, customers will book a trip from a defined pick-up point to their destination.
Mercedes-Benz and Bosch hope this trial will provide insight into the further development of their SAE Level 4/5 automated driving system. Additionally, they expect to gain further insight into how self-driving cars can be integrated into an intermodal mobility system that also includes public transportation and carsharing, according to the companies.
“It’s not just the automated vehicles that have to prove their mettle,” said Uwe Keller, head of autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz AG. “We also need proof that they can fit in as a piece of the urban mobility puzzle. We can test both these things in San Jose.”
In mid-2017, San Jose was the first U.S. city to invite private companies to perform field tests of automated driving and analyze the growing challenges in road traffic.
“As a city, we want to know more about how automated vehicles can help improve safety and reduce congestion, as well as make mobility more available, sustainable, and inclusive,” said Dolan Beckel, director of Civic Innovation and Digital Strategy. “The project of Mercedes-Benz and Bosch ties in with San Jose’s extensive ‘smart city’ objectives. It will also help us develop guidelines for dealing with new technologies and prepare for the traffic system of the future.”
For around two and a half years, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch have been working together on solutions for automated driving in cities. Their common goal is an SAE Level 4/5 driving system for fully automated and driverless vehicles, including the software for vehicle management. They want to develop a production-ready system that can be integrated into different vehicle types and models.
“If automated driving is to become everyday reality, the technology has to work reliably and safely,” said Michael Fausten, head of engineering for urban automated driving at Robert Bosch GmbH. “And this is where we need tests such as our pilot project in San Jose.”