The classic big automakers usually hold back and see in the market of autonomous vehicles. It is not an easy or cheap market to swim into, so it’s better to see how it goes for the firsts that dive into the pool.
One of the first vehicle companies to bet into this new business is Mercedes-Benz, as it plans to launch a self-driving cab somewhere around next year in Silicon Valley.
They are calling this new service an “automated shuttle”. But don’t think it is some sort of slow van. Mercedes is as fancy as usual, as it’ll start with a group of S-Class luxury sedans and B-Class hatchbacks, and they have a long-term plan to design vehicles for autodriving like the F 015 “Luxury in Motion” concept they showed some years back.
The deal is still in negotiation phase and they have not revealed how many cars will make up the total fleet, but they have said they’ll have human drivers to keep a watch on the system, and in the pilot phase, the passengers will travel for free.
Daimler (Mercedes’ parent company) has partnered with Bosch for this project as it has plenty of experience in building the safety of the semi-autonomous systems many luxury vehicles have now. To achieve the challenge of collecting and processing the data to keep the machines running, they’re working with Nvida, the developers of the Pegasus AI supercomputer, as it has the capability to process the mammoth amount of 300 trillion operations per second.