Bosch and Mercedes-Benz’s joint project to develop urban automated driving has now entered a new stage. Their pilot project for an app-based ride-hailing service using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles has now been launched in San Jose, California.
Monitored by a safety driver, the self-driving cars shuttle between West San Jose and downtown, along the San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard thoroughfares. The service will initially be available to a select group of users. They will use an app developed by Daimler Mobility AG to book a journey by the automated S-Class vehicles from a defined pick-up point to their destination. Bosch and Mercedes-Benz hope this trial will provide valuable insights into the further development of their SAE Level 4/5 automated driving system. The partners also expect to gain further insights into how self-driving cars can be integrated into an intermodal mobility system that also includes public transportation and car-sharing.
Bosch, Mercedes-Benz & San Jose – Partners For The future Of Mobility
In mid-2017, San Jose was the first U.S. city to invite private companies to carryout field tests of automated driving and analyze the growing challenges in road traffic. Especially in congested city traffic, self-driving cars’ permanent 360-degree surround sensing can potentially enhance safety, and their smooth driving style can improve traffic flow.
“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. 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,” says Dolan Beckel, director of civic innovation and digital strategy.
“If automated driving is to become everyday reality, the technology has to work reliably and safely. And this is where we need tests such as our pilot project in San Jose,” says Dr. Michael Fausten, head of engineering for urban automated driving at Robert Bosch GmbH.
“It’s not just the automated vehicles that have to prove their mettle. 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,” says Dr. Uwe Keller, head of autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz AG.
From August through November, representatives of the project joined staff from the City of San Jose to discuss the project with several community organizations. At seven meetings of neighborhood and business groups along the corridor, the team discussed the project goals, demonstrated the vehicle technology, explained the layers of safety redundancy built into the project, and took suggestions for future use cases.