Tests on autonomous taxis carried out by Bosch and Daimler-Mercedes are set to get under way next year in a city in Silicon Valley. Mercedes shuttles fitted with Bosch components and steered by the Drive Pegasus autonomous system will offer free transport for passengers on pre-defined routes. The tests are set to provide invaluable information for future development.
The Daimler-Mercedes and Bosch groups are set to begin a test programme on level 4 and 5 driverless vehicles in California in the second half of 2019. The vehicles will run in a city that will be specifically chosen for the tests and transport passengers on pre-defined journeys, according to French website Les Numériques. The name of the US municipality that has been selected for the project and the number of vehicles to be used in the taxi-shuttle system have yet to be made public.
The fleet of cars used for the tests will likely include Mercedes Class S and Class C, according to Uwe Keller who is head of autonomous driving at Daimler. The city where the life-size testing will be carried out will be in Silicon Valley, California. Back in 2014, Mercedes obtained a permit for testing its autonomous vehicles in the city of Sunnyvale, which is coincidentally located in that very part of the state.
For security reasons, the shuttles will have a driver on board who will in theory only take over the controls of the car in the event of real need. Travellers using the service will not have to pay a cent for their journeys, since the main aim of the programme is to collect data and information related to how the Daimler-Mercedes and Bosch smart vehicles react in traffic.
The latest in AI from Nvidia
The two German auto giants are hoping to learn more about "the way in which totally automated and driverless vehicles can be integrated into a multi-form transport network", according to those in charge of the project. To accomplish this, engineers have turned to Nvidia – a US specialist in graphic processers – and specifically the Drive Pegasus platform which the company has designed.
While Bosch is providing the sensors, cameras and radars required for the functioning of the autonomous taxis, the Nvidia connected system and the artificial intelligence it uses will actually be steering the cars. It is incidentally the third generation of the Nvidia equipment that will be installed in the vehicles, with a system capable of carrying out 320 trillion calculations per second, no less – ten times more than Drive PX2 which was the previous version of the platform.
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