Image: Daimler

Bosch and Daimler have announced a pilot trial of fully-automated and driverless driving in an as-yet unnamed metropolitan city in California, with a test fleet hitting the road in the second half of next year. Daimler Mobility Services is expected to be the operator of a fleet of on-demand, shared shuttle vehicles, summoned via an app and to run on selected routes in the Silicon Valley city.

The project will demonstrate the connection of mobility services such as car-sharing (car2go), ride-hailing (mytaxi) and multi-modal platforms (moovel), as well as giving insight into how fully-automated and driverless vehicles can be integrated into a city’s multi-modal transport network. The vehicles will show Level 4 and 5 autonomy.

Nividia is to supply its Drive Pegasus artificial intelligence platform as part of the control unit network, which will use machine learning to run and process AI algorithms – generated by Bosch and Daimler – for a vehicle’s movement. The control unit will collate and evaluate data from sensors including radar, video, LiDAR and ultrasound (a process known as sensor fusion), and the network is said to have a computing capacity of hundreds of trillion operations per second. Bosch and Daimler have developed a liquid cooling system for the ECU network, which is integrated into the cooling circuit of these electric vehicles’ batteries.

Bosch and Daimler will co-operate to develop the concepts and algorithms for the drive system; the two companies already have two shared facilities, one near Stuttgart, Germany, and another near Sunnyvale, to the south of San Francisco, and Mercedes-Benz has regulatory approval to test automated vehicles in both areas. Daimler will provide the development vehicles, test facilities and vehicles for the fleet, while Bosch will provide the components such as sensors, actuators and control units.

Dr. Michael Hafner, head of automated driving at Daimler AG, stresses: “The decisive factor is to introduce a safe, dependable and mature system. Safety has the highest priority, and is the constant theme of all aspects and development stages on our way to the start of series production. If in doubt, thoroughness comes before speed,” he said in a statement.

Dr. Stephan Hönle, senior VP for automated driving, Robert Bosch Gmbh, added: “Developing automated driving to a level ready for series production is like a decathlon. It’s not enough to be good in one or two areas. Like us, you have to master all disciplines. Only then will we succeed in bringing automated driving to the roads and the city safely.”

-Farah Alkhalisi