Daimler and Bosch to Launch Driverless Pilot Programs in California

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【Summary】According to the announcement, testing at an unnamed location within Silicon Valley will commence in the second quarter of 2019.

Michael Cheng    Jul 20, 2018 11:11 AM PT
Daimler and Bosch to Launch Driverless Pilot Programs in California

California, well known for its lax regulations for companies developing autonomous vehicles, is preparing to host a massive program, which aims to test self-driving cars and other connected technologies. Designed to take place in an unnamed location within Silicon Valley, the pilot is part of an agreement between Daimler, Bosch and NVIDIA.

The trio will build an entire city – complete with connected infrastructure and networks – for its growing fleet of self-driving units. According to the announcement, testing at the site will commence in the second quarter of 2019.

Connected Cities for Self-driving Cars

One of the pilot programs to be deployed in the location involves autonomous shuttles for local residents. The modern, compact buses will operate on pre-programmed routes within the city. Daimler Mobility Services has been chosen as primary operator for the self-driving shuttles. The group will also roll out a smartphone app for the service. With an accessible app, individuals would also be able to summon a vehicle within a car-sharing fleet instantly.

Moreover, the collaborators intend to use their expertise in the automotive field to test solutions for smooth traffic flow. According to a press release, enhancements to the movement of vehicles on the road is beneficial for car-sharing and local commuters.

"Developing automated driving to a level ready for series production is like a decathlon," said Dr. Stephan Honle, Senior VP of Business Unit Automated Driving at Robert Bosch GmbH. "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."

Interestingly, Daimler has held a license to test autonomous vehicles in the state of California for more than three years, with most of its programs located in Sunnyvale. Bosch's experience testing driverless vehicles in the country goes even further back – all the way to 2013. As for NVIDIA, the chipmaker's headquarters is in Santa Clara, with branches in major cities worldwide.

With all the key participants in the partnership agreement already well established within the general location selected for the program, testing could start earlier than expected.

Using NVIDIA Tech

Computing power for the self-driving cars under Drive Pegasus will be provided by NVIDIA. Hardware will come in the form of sensors around the vehicles, as well as data-processing chipsets and network components. With that in mind, the muscle that underpins the autonomous platforms being tested by Bosch and Daimler is developed by the tech giant.

"The advantages that Nvidia has in graphics-chip development, and the subsequent leadership in AI processing, gives it a jumpstart that no other company can match," highlighted AI analyst Ryan Shrout.

In some aspects, the driverless site will allow NVIDIA to push its own products to the limit, serving as a valuable test tool during these nascent stages of development. The company, which is a top supplier of AI-powered products and platforms for driverless cars, has been working closely with numerous automakers in the self-driving space.

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