Daimler: Robotaxis in California

The parent company of Mercedes-Benz, Daimler, has announced a partnership with Bosch to introduce their own fleet of robotaxis. 

According to a report by Reuters, the automaker will be launching its self-driving taxis in the Silicon Valley region early in the following year. The details on the programme remain sparse - neither the car manufacturer, nor the automotive supplier have provided any specifics on the size of the fleet, the exact form of the vehicles, or even, the routes that will be available. What is known is that until Bosch is done developing their own ECU, Daimler will make use of Nvidia's platform to power its autonomous vehicles. 

The press statement describes the vehicles-to-be-deployed as fully-automated and driverless (SAE Level 4/5). Despite the high-level of automation, each vehicle will be manned by a safety driver and will have a steering wheel. Daimler also explains how this pilot service, expected to be launched in a "Californian Metropolis", will demonstrate how Daimler's services in car sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi), and multi-modal platforms (moovel) can shape the future of mobility.

An increasing number of automakers are diversifying their portfolio: Volvo recently announced the creation of M, a mobility subsidiary focusing on new ways of moving, while VW recently announced WE, an all-electric car-sharing service. Furthermore, Waymo, Alphabet's self-driving spin-off has announced that it will be launching its own robotaxi fleet in Arizona sometime within the year. Recent investments by Lyft (Motivate), Uber, and Alphabet (LimeBike) hint at a multi-modal future, so it seems wise for Daimler to enter the world of autonomous ridesharing. 

Andrew Kyprianides