Daimler embarks on self-driving race with San Francisco shuttles

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on July 12, 2018.
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FRANKFURT: Daimler AG plans to offer autonomous shuttles on public roads in California from next year, adding momentum to the global race for self-driving vehicles with technology giants like Alphabet Inc’s Waymo and rival BMW AG.

The service will start with a test fleet in the second half of 2019 in the San Francisco Bay Area, with users hailing vehicles via an app that will prompt the cars to come to them within a defined area, the German manufacturer and Robert Bosch GmbH said yesterday in a joint statement. The offering, if successful, will join Daimler’s suite of mobility services that includes car sharing, the Mytaxi ride-hailing service and moovel, an app that helps users decide how to get to their destination quickest.

Mercedes-Benz maker Daimler and Bosch, the world’s biggest car-component supplier, started working on autonomous vehicles last year.

Yesterday’s announcement suggests the technology partners are speeding up plans from an initial target of taking robo-taxis to the road in 2023, as other major players are not far behind. — Bloomberg