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Daimler and Bosch announce autonomous alliance

Chicken and egg: Australia’s safety watchdog, ANCAP, is calling for more unified global regulations before a wider roll out of autonomous tech.

Parts-maker Bosch and Daimler forge partnership to develop self-driving software

General News logo6 Apr 2017

MERCEDES-BENZ parent company Daimler will team with automotive parts manufacturer Bosch to further develop self-driving software and algorithms with the intention to bring fully autonomous vehicles to market by as early as 2020.

According to the brands, self-driving vehicles will “improve urban traffic flows, enhance road safety, and provide an important building block for the traffic of the future” and that “the technology will increase the attractiveness of car sharing”.

The intention is to develop Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) recognised level four and five – both levels which do not require any human input to navigate or operate on the road – autonomous vehicles that can be shared or hailed from a phone.

“Within a predetermined urban area, people can conveniently use their smartphones to book a car share or an urban automated taxi that comes to them ready to take them to their destination,” said the two brands.

By leveraging self-driving technologies in this manner, where the vehicle comes to the person and not the other way around, it could also decrease traffic congestion as the traditional car ownership model is challenged by ride-sharing and car-hailing services.

Not only will autonomous vehicles allow users to perform other tasks while en route to their destination, but self-driving technology will also broaden the transportation options of the young (who might not be old enough to drive) and old (who might not be comfortable driving), as well as people living with a disability (who may not have the capability to operate a vehicle).

Autonomous vehicles – which can communicate with one another as well as the surrounding infrastructure – are also expected to increase road safety by taking human error out of the equation, potentially taking the road death toll down to zero.

Hardware currently used to underpin self-driving vehicles includes autonomous emergency braking, lane keep assist, surround-view cameras, GPS tracking and adaptive cruise control, however many autonomous vehicle experts have cited government, regulatory, ethical and social issues as the main hurdles to overcome before widespread adoption.

Although no other information was provided, an artist’s depiction of a futuristic city envisages the Mercedes-Benz F 015 concept car unveiled at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) roaming the streets as an on-demand autonomous taxi.

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