German carmaker Daimler and auto parts supplier Bosch have announced they will deploy self-driving taxis in California next year. The move will be part of a test program of vehicles designed for city driving.
The world's largest maker of premium cars and the biggest automotive supplier described their planned taxi program as a passenger shuttle service, but did not reveal which city in California would host it.
The extremely complex challenges of self-driving technology and the expense of research and development have led to a host of partnerships between automakers and suppliers of late.
Bosch and Daimler, with its passenger car brand Mercedes-Benz, first joined forces in a self-driving alliance in April 2017, with teams from both firms working together in Stuttgart and Silicon Valley.
Still relying on Nvidia
The vehicles to be used in the California test program would include a safety driver and a steering wheel, the two companies said. The service will be built atop the artificial intelligence platform Nvidia DRIVE Pegasus, supplied by chipmaker Nvidia.
Bosch is currently developing its own electronic control unit. Until it can resort to its own computer brain, the company will rely on existing technology from Nvidia.
In the planned test program, Daimler will supply the vehicles and test facilities, while Bosch will contribute the sensors, actuators and control units needed in the development process.
The two firms said the pilot project would help provide information about how self-driving vehicles could be integrated into a complex transportation network offering multiple choices.
hg/tr (Reuters, AFP, dpa)