The driverless carpool lane is set to get even more crowded, with auto giant Daimler partnering with Bosch in a deal which looks to bring driverless cars to roads by the beginning of the next decade.
The two companies are looking to develop software and algorithms for an autonomous driving system, with the project set to combine the vehicle know-how of Daimler with the hardware expertise of Bosch.
In addition to improving traffic flow in cities and enhancing safety, a big part of the deal will focus on boosting the attraction of car sharing. The two giants of their respective industries want to enable people to make the best possible use of their time in the vehicle and open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s licence, for example.
That car-sharing aim is intrinsically linked to the two companies’ prime objective of developing a production-ready driving system. The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the driver rather than the other way round. Within a specified area of town, customers will be able to order an automated shared car via their smartphone. The vehicle will then make its way autonomously to the user and the onward journey can commence.
So should Uber be worried? While many will see the companies’ mission statement as a targeted approach to the ride-hailing market, but Uber and Daimler actually formed a partnership at the start of the year to develop self-driving cars. This is not the first foray into driverless for Bosch either, with the firm also announcing this year a deal with Nvidia to develop an autonomous AI car computer.
Also in the carpool lane are BMW and Intel, Google, ARM, Ford, Volvo – the list goes on and on. Although the biggest in the auto and tech industries are rushing to win the driverless race, issues over safety and regulation continue to dog the future tech. Not only do these issues remain unresolved at the centre of many cross-industry and cross-government debate, but consumers are having their opinion swayed by the ongoing uncertainty.
In what may give the auto makers and tech giants pause for thought, a Deloitte study found that only a third of British consumers would be interested in owning a car.