Daimler AG and Bosch have launched a fully-automated driverless taxi service in San Jose. Passengers can call an unmanned vehicle at one of the designated landing points and get to another point for free, according to a Bosch press release.
Many car manufacturers and technology companies are actively developing and testing unmanned vehicles on the streets of cities. Moreover, almost all of them believe that, at least for the first time, drones will work only in taxi services, and not for personal use, and some companies even call for a ban on the use of personal drones in densely populated areas. In many respects, the use of unmanned vehicles primarily in taxi services is associated with their high price of equipment, as well as with the fact that while autonomous driving technology is still developing, such services can potentially provide greater control over cars and thereby increase travel safety in the future.
Daimler AG, which owns Mercedes-Benz and other popular car brands, as well as Bosch, which supplies components for various automakers, have launched their own unmanned or driverless taxi service in California. It works in the city of San Jose, and testing is limited to two large streets several kilometres long: San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Avenue.
Users can call a taxi through the application, being in one of the designated drop-off points of passengers, after which the car will take them to another such point. Travel on the service’s drones is free for passengers because California authorities allow testing of drones with passengers only on such terms. During all trips behind the wheel is an engineer of the company, but he only monitors the operation of autopilot and does not drive the car most of the time.
The service uses Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans, converted into unmanned vehicles. The unmanned S-Class has a lot of lidars, cameras and radars mounted on all sides of the car. Car control algorithms work on specialized computers for unmanned vehicles.
In addition to testing the taxi service based on drones, Daimler AG and Bosch have been working on an unmanned garage for several years. It operates on the principle of jack-parking, but it does not require drivers. Visitors to the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart can stop by to a special place in the garage and get out of the car, after which it will drive itself to the location allocated by the system and it’s going to park. The garage was built in 2015, but only in the summer of 2019 the German authorities allowed its full operation.