SAE Level 4/5 in the near or intermediate term? Wayne Gerdes – CleanMPG – December 17, 2019 Bosch and Mercedes-Benz’s joint project to develop urban automated driving has now entered a new stage. Autonomous Bosch-Mercedes-Benz S-Class The pilot for an app-based ride-hailing service using automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles has now been launched in the Silicon Valley city of San José. Monitored by a safety driver, the self-driving cars shuttle between West San José and downtown, along the San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard thoroughfares. The service will initially be available to a select group of users. They will use an app developed by Daimler Mobility AG to book a journey by the automated S-Class vehicles from a defined pick-up point to their destination. Bosch and Mercedes-Benz hope this trial will provide valuable insights into the further development of their SAE Level 4/5 automated driving system. The partners also expect to gain further insights into how self-driving cars can be integrated into an intermodal mobility system that also includes public transportation and car-sharing. In mid-2017, San José was the first U.S. city to invite private companies to carry out field tests of automated driving and analyze the growing real-world city road challenges. Self-driving cars’ permanent 360-degree surround sensing can potentially enhance safety, smooth driving style, and improve traffic flow. The project of Mercedes-Benz and Bosch ties in with San José’s extensive ‘Smart City’ objectives. Between August and November, representatives of the project joined staff from the City of San José to discuss the project with several community organizations. At seven meetings of neighborhood and business groups along the corridor, the team discussed the project goals, demonstrated the vehicle technology, explained the layers of safety redundancy built into the project, and took suggestions for future use cases. US and Beyond For the last two years, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz have been working together on solutions for automated driving in cities. Their common goal is an SAE Level 4/5 driving system for fully automated and driverless vehicles, including the software for vehicle management. In their work to develop software for controlling vehicle movement, the partners deliberately do not rely solely on artificial intelligence and clocking up test mileage. Their engineers also use simulations and specially designed proving grounds to specifically address the kind of driving situations that occur only very rarely in road traffic. For this purpose, engineers at the Immendingen, Germany testing and technology center can make use of a 24-acre proving ground designed specifically for automated driving. Complex traffic situations can be reproduced extremely accurately. For Bosch and Mercedes-Benz, thoroughness and safety are top priorities. The alliance is not exclusively concerned with the road and weather conditions in the United States. While one part of the team is based in Sunnyvale, a Silicon Valley city between San José and San Francisco, another part comprising engineers from both companies works in the Stuttgart area. Wherever they work, the Bosch and Mercedes-Benz team members are in constant communication. This ensures short decision-making channels and rapid exchange across disciplines. And at any time, associates can draw on the knowledge and expertise of their colleagues in their parent companies. The division of labor within the project has Mercedes-Benz’s integrating the jointly developed drive systems into the vehicle, and to provide the necessary trial vehicles, test bays, and test fleets. Bosch develops and manufactures the components for urban automated driving that the alliance has identified. Specially for their automated ride-hailing service pilot project, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz have taken a further partner on board: Daimler Mobility AG is developing and testing a fleet platform to accompany the pilot operation phase. This allows potential ride-hailing partners to seamlessly integrate self-driving (Mercedes-Benz) vehicles into their service portfolio. The platform manages both self-driving and conventional vehicles, including operation and maintenance. An app-based mobility service for conventionally driven Mercedes-Benz vehicles went into operation in the Bay Area in the fall of 2019. The service is also available in the German capital Berlin. As mentioned numerous times, an autonomous vehicle with non-owners in the backseat spells trouble. A lot of trouble for every reason you can imagine and many you cannot.