Self-driving or fully autonomous cars are quite the epitomai of automotive engineering in today's world. Well, there are also sci-fi movie cars that can hover and have no wheels but let's take baby steps. Speaking of baby steps, Mercedes-Benz and Bosch are collaboratively taking a leap forward readying to launch their self-driving ride-hailing service in California, and in California traffic that is. This will be treated as a learning ground for the engineers and commuters can be a part of it.
The pilot project includes 30 vehicles, according to a Digital Trends report which adds that these prototypes will be based on Mercedes-Benz flagship saloon S-Class. When we say there will be no driver, we mean the car won't need a human driver but Bosch have stressed that a safety driver will be behind the wheel so they can take over should there be an issue with the technology or the road conditions.
The concept will pretty much be like Uber - riders can hail a taxi using a purpose-designed smartphone application to summon a ride designating a pickup point and where they want to go. Once the car arrives, the rider simply hops in and be off to their respective destination without any human intervention. The rides will be available in West San Jose and downtown along the San Carlos Street and Stevens Creek boulevard.
But don't expect a driverless S-Class to zoom you across downtown next time you're in San Jose. Not yet. Currently, the service will be limited for Bosch and Daimler associates as the two partners want the project to run its course before allowing regular riders to hail self-driving cars. “The idea is to open up the service to the public as soon as possible,” the spokesperson told Digital Trends.
So far, Waymo's self-driving car programme is the only one that runs commercially in and around Phoenix, Arizona. Called Waymo One, it is available in a 160-km zone in Phoenix with pricing like $7.59 (approximately Rs 538) for a 15-minute or 4.8-km ride.