Daimler and Bosch to launch robot taxi tests

German car maker and owner of Mercedes to work with auto parts supplier Bosch on driverless project

FILE- In this Feb. 2, 2017 file photo, the logo of Mercedes is photographed at the annual news conference at the company's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany. Daimler AG says it has fired an executive who represented the company at an industry backed entity that commissioned diesel exhaust tests involving monkey. A Daimler statement Wednesday Jan. 31, 2018 did not identify the executive, who it said sat on the top management board of the now-dissolved EUGT entity, by name, citing privacy concerns. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader,file)
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Daimler and automotive supplier Robert Bosch will start testing self-driving so-called robo-taxis in the next few months, senior executives told a German weekly.

Mercedes-Benz owner Daimler and Bosch teamed up last year to develop self-driving cars in an alliance aimed at accelerating the production of robo-taxis, joining a growing number of rivals trying to do the same.

"There will be test vehicles on the streets in the coming months," Bosch chief executive Volkmar Denner told Automobilwoche, without being more specific.

The pact between Daimler, the world’s biggest maker of premium cars and Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier, forms a counterweight to new auto industry players like ride-hailing firms Uber and Didi, which are also working on self-driving cars.

Last month, Alphabet’s self-driving unit Waymo said it had begun testing self-driving vehicles in Atlanta, bringing to 25 the total number of US cities in which it is testing.


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Technology companies and car makers are striving to adjust to a shifting landscape in the auto industry as consumers increasingly use smartphones to locate, hail and rent vehicles, rather than going out and buying cars.

"Apart from highly autonomous level 3 vehicles we will also bring fully autonomous vehicles - level 4/5 - to the streets in the foreseeable future," Wilko Stark, vice president Daimler and Mercedes-Benz Cars strategy, told Automobilwoche.

A level 3 car still needs a steering wheel and a driver who can take over if the car encounters a problem, while level 4 promises driverless features in dedicated lanes. Full autonomy - known as an “eyes off, brains off” or “level 5” system - does away with even the need for a steering wheel.

“The big difference to other competitors is that we are conceptualising our vehicle as a robo-taxi right from the beginning and not as a technology-kit mounted on a serial vehicle. We will not have a makeshift solution,” Mr Stark added.