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Metropolitan area in California to become pilot city for automated vehicles

The artificial intelligence platform behind the service is provided by US tech company Nvidia

Conceptual view of how the service could work in a pilot Californian city
Conceptual view of how the service could work in a pilot Californian city

Bosch and Daimler have chosen California as the pilot location for the first test fleet of automated vehicles. In the second half of 2019, the companies will offer customers a shuttle service with automated vehicles on selected routes in a Californian metropolis.


Daimler Mobility Services is envisaged as the operator of this test fleet and the app-based mobility service. The pilot project will demonstrate how mobility services such as car-sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi) and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can be intelligently connected to shape the future of mobility.


For the joint development of a driving system for fully-automated and driverless vehicles, Bosch and Daimler are guided by a shared philosophy: "The decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system," says 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, senior vice president of the automated driving business unit at Robert Bosch, describes developing automated driving to a level ready for series production as being “like a decathlon". "It’s not enough to be good in one or two areas. Like us, you have to master all disciplines. Only then will we succeed in bringing automated driving to the roads and the city safely,” he said.


For their driving system, Bosch and Daimler will rely on a control unit network made up of several individual control units. The US technology company Nvidia supplies the platform required for this, which can run the artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms generated by Bosch and Daimler for the vehicle’s movement.


The network of control units collates the data from all sensors with radar, video, lidar and ultrasound technology (sensor data fusion), evaluates them within milliseconds and plans the movements of the vehicle. All in all, the control unit network has a computing capacity of hundreds of trillion operations per second. That’s as much as several S‑Class vehicles together could reach just a few years ago.


The test operation in Silicon Valley will provide information about how fully-automated and driverless vehicles (SAE Level 4/5) can be integrated into a multi-modal transport network. Many cities face numerous challenges that are increasingly burdening the existing transport system. The test is to show how this new technology might be a solution to these challenges.


Bosch and Daimler want 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 car-sharing. In addition, it will allow people to make the best possible use of their time in the vehicle, and open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s licence, for example.


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