Mercedes to pioneer autonomous self-driving cars
Mercedes-Benz has announced it is to collaborate with Bosch on developing a fleet of fully autonomous self-driving cars.
The pact between the two German super brands, the world’s most prolific maker of premium cars and the world’s most prolific automotive parts supplier, will see them develop and launch a production-ready self-driving car for use on urban public roads.
Their joint efforts will be focused on the app-based car-sharing and ride-hailing sector dominated by Uber as they strive to develop “robo-taxis” of the future.
Autonomous self-driving cars will ‘come to the driver’
The idea is that self-driving cars will come to the driver rather than the other way round. Users will be able to book a car with their smartphone much like Uber, only there won’t be anyone behind the wheel when it arrives to pick you up.
Initially, the cars will be limited to areas covered by digital mapping service HERE, which Mercedes owns in partnership with BMW, VW and Intel.
Mercedes and Bosch will start with Level 4 self-driving capability, meaning cars that can handle almost all situations by themselves but have some limitations, such as in poor weather or navigating unmapped roads.
A true self-driving car that can handle all situations and does not require a driver, a “Level 5” self-driving car, will follow.
Fully autonomous self-driving cars ‘road ready within 3 years’
Experts in the development team predict Level 4 and Level 5 fully autonomous self-driving cars will be fully trialled, tested and ready for the road within three years.
Autonomous vehicles came closer to road-going reality when Google unveiled a prototype car developed with Bosch in 2012. Mercedes responded by developing an S-class that drove more than 100km between two German cities a year later.
And, just four years further down the line, road trials of driverless cars have taken place in London while similar trials have been announced by automotive development consortiums in Manchester and Oxford.
Adrian Flux is already geared up and ready to embrace the driverless car revolution which is set to move the goalposts in terms of motor insurance needs. The company has developed the UK’s first bespoke driverless car insurance policy.