Daimler and Bosch to launch AI-powered taxi service next year

Free driverless service will debut in California

Mercedes’s F 015 Luxury in Motion driverless concept car from 2015
(Image credit: Mercedes)

Mercedes parent company Daimler and car supplier Bosch have announced that they are launching an autonomous taxi service in California.

The trial, to begin next year, will take the form of a ride-hailing service, with passengers transported in self-driving shuttles.

The German motoring giant will provide the vehicles, while Bosch will supply sensors and controls for the car’s autonomous features.

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The two companies will also use driverless artificial intelligence (AI) systems provided by US-based technology firm Nvidia, says Engadget.

Nvidia’s Drive Pegasus AI platform can handle more than 320 trillion operations per seconds, and the companies believe this should be enough to provide level 4 or 5 autonomy - meaning the car would be capable of navigating a city without any input from the occupants.

During the pilot programme, each vehicle will be sent out with a safety driver to take over in the event of an emergency, reports Reuters.

To hitch a ride with the shuttles, customers will be able to access an app developed by Daimler that will offer a selection of pre-determined routes, the news site says.

The service will be free to use during the trial period, and the two firms are currently negotiating with cities in California to sign up for the pilot.

Daimler ultimately aims to build a driverless public transport infrastructure to compete with the likes of Google’s Waymo and the Volkswagen Group.

The Mercedes-owned company announced a partnership with Uber last year, but the ride-hailing giant scaled back its involvement in driverless vehicles after a person was struck by one of its test cars in Arizona in March.

Daimler teamed up with Bosch in April 2017 to begin developing a driverless vehicle, says the BBC. The two firms have been given the green light to trial test vehicles in both Germany and the US.

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