Com­ing soon: A self-driv­ing Benz

Will be­gin pub­lic tests in Cal­i­for­nia next year.

USA TODAY US Edition - - MONEY - Nathan Bomey

Mercedes-Benz par­ent com­pany Daim­ler and auto sup­plier Bosch plan to launch a self-driv­ing car pilot for the pub­lic in San Jose, Cal­i­for­nia, in the sec­ond half of 2019.

The two Ger­man auto com­pa­nies have been qui­etly col­lab­o­rat­ing to de­liver ad­vance­ments in an in­creas­ingly com­pet­i­tive global race to make au­tonomous cars a re­al­ity.

The pilot puts Daim­ler and Bosch on roughly the same pace as Gen­eral Mo­tors and slightly be­hind for­mer Google car com­pany Waymo. GM is ex­pected to launch a sim­i­lar pilot in the sec­ond half of 2019, while Waymo is poised to do so im­mi­nently.

Other ma­jor au­tomak­ers and tech­nol­ogy com­pa­nies are also pur­su­ing plans for real-world self-driv­ing car ser­vices, but their time­lines are fur­ther out.

Daim­ler and Bosch will of­fer self­driv­ing car rides in Mercedes-Benz SClass lux­ury cars be­tween down­town and west San Jose.

The com­pa­nies said they and San Jose have “signed a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing to pur­sue and fi­nal­ize this ac­tiv­ity.”

They had pre­vi­ously an­nounced plans to launch a self-driv­ing car pilot in Sil­i­con Val­ley but had not an­nounced the lo­ca­tion.

The rides will be of­fered through a Daim­ler Mo­bil­ity Ser­vices ride-hail­ing app. Users will be able to sign up at a later date but it’s not clear how they’ll be picked.

“A se­lected user com­mu­nity will have the op­por­tu­nity to hail a self-driv­ing car, mon­i­tored by a safety driver, from a des­ig­nated pick-up lo­ca­tion and drive au­to­mat­i­cally to their des­ti­na­tion,” Daim­ler and Bosch said in a state­ment.

Engi­neers for Daim­ler and Bosch have been col­lab­o­rat­ing side by side on au­tonomous ve­hi­cle tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment at of­fices in Ger­many and Sil­i­con Val­ley.

Daim­ler is spe­cial­iz­ing in de­liv­er­ing the ve­hi­cle’s driv­ing sys­tem, while Bosch is pro­vid­ing key com­po­nents, such as sen­sors.

They have said their ul­ti­mate goal is to de­liver a self-driv­ing car by 2021.

“The most ur­gent and dif­fi­cult work is to de­velop a sys­tem which will work re­li­ably, safely, day­time and night­time un­der all cir­cum­stances and con­di­tions,” Michael Fausten, head of ur­ban au­tonomous driv­ing for Bosch, told USA TO­DAY ear­lier this year.

DAIM­LER AG

DAIM­LER AG - GLOBAL COM­MU­NI­CA­TIONS MERCEDES-BENZ CARS

Ger­man au­tomaker Daim­ler and sup­plier Bosch are col­lab­o­rat­ing to of­fer self-driv­ing car rides in Mercedes-Benz S-Class ve­hi­cles in San Jose, Calif., in the sec­ond half of 2019.

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