German automaker Mercedes-Benz’s parent company Daimler announced back in April that it has joined hands with automotive parts supplier Bosch to work on a ride-sharing service with autonomous vehicles. The two companies have now revealed that they plan to launch a pilot in the San Francisco Bay area starting in the second half of 2019. Although there is very little information available on it right now, what we know so far is that Daimler is going to start out using a fleet of S-Class luxury sedans and B-Class hatchbacks. However, the company has long-term plans for vehicles designed specifically for autonomous driving, like the F 015 “Luxury in Motion” concept we saw a couple of years back.
The other information divulged is that the two companies are collaborating with NVIDIA. Self-driving cars equipped with a suite of lidar laser sensors, radars, cameras, and other sensors that produce a ton of data. A single Bosch stereo camera generates 100 gigabytes of data every 0.62 miles. The current autonomous cars being tested have PC towers in their trunk that not only take up space but also suck up power and produce a lot of heat. Daimler and Bosch have announced that they use the NVIDIA Drive Pegasus self-driving AI platform, which can tackle an impressive 320 trillion operations per second. Daimler might be a little late to join the race to put fully autonomous cars on road but it’s pouring resources to steer the project in the right direction.