Ride-share giants Uber and Lyft may soon have some driverless competition.
Mercedes-Benz has teamed up with German-based engineering firm Bosch to develop a new mobile ride-share app that uses automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class vehicles as transportation. A pilot project for the app just launched in San Jose, California, per a statement.
The cars, while automated, won’t be completely driverless. The company said they will be monitored by a safety driver (at least for the San Jose test), shuttled along the San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek Boulevard thoroughfares and offered to a small group of users.
The test group will use the app, developed by Daimler Mobility AG, to book trips.
“If automated driving is to become an everyday reality, the technology has to work reliably and safely,” Uwe Keller, head of autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz AG, said in the statement. “And this is where we need tests such as our pilot project in San José.”
For nearly three years, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch have collaborated on automated-driving solutions in congested cities. Their goal, per the statement, is to “use simulations and specially designed proving grounds to specifically address the kind of driving situations that occur only very rarely in road traffic,” instead of relying solely on artificial intelligence.
“We want to know more about how automated vehicles can help improve safety and reduce congestion, as well as make mobility more available, sustainable and inclusive,” San Jose Project Director Dolan Beckel said. “The project of Mercedes and Bosch ties in with San José's extensive 'smart city' objectives. It will help us develop guidelines for dealing with new technologies and prepare for the traffic system of the future.”