Daimler’s Mercedes and Bosch are gearing up to test driverless taxis on the roads in the coming months.
Engadget, citing German news site Automobilwoche, reported that Bosch head Volkmar Denner said the first test taxi will be on the roads in the coming months. He didn’t provide other details, reported Engadget, but did offer up more of a timetable for the initiative. Engadget noted that up until those comments, the two companies had only said fully self-driving cars would be on the streets during the next ten years. Those comments from Denner show the two companies are stepping up their game as the race for self-driving vehicles heats up, noted the report.
Daimler is hoping its focus on making the vehicles self-driving from the ground up instead of retrofitting cars to become self-driving taxis will give it an edge. The report noted that if competitors are able to make inroads before the Mercedes efforts hit streets, it may not matter how much more technologically advanced it is.
Mercedes is not in front — at present — but it is driving hard to get there. Two years ago, the world got a peek at the self-driving F 015 concept car and has spent much of the time since pushing up time targets for the technology necessary to make self-driving cars happen faster. Because speed is definitely a factor when it comes to a fundamental change in the automotive world. Consulting firm Frost & Sullivan estimates that autonomous cars could be a market worth as much as $83 billion by 2025, which means the clock is ticking. And Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz, is putting his development money where his mouth is. Since 2016, Mercedes has operated a skunkworks unit to focus wholly on electric cars, self-driving cars and reimagined uses for autonomous vehicles, like robo-taxis. Plus, Mercedes is interested in more than just their internal ideas about the autonomous auto’s future. They are also the proud parents of a tech accelerator that focuses solely on startups.