FRANKFURT, April 4 Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler
and supplier Robert Bosch are teaming up to
develop self-driving cars in an alliance primarily aimed at
accelerating the production of "robo-taxis".
The pact between the world's largest maker of premium cars
and the world's largest automotive supplier forms a powerful
counterweight to new auto industry players like Uber and Didi
which are working on self-driving cars with a business model
geared toward clients who want to use rather than own cars.
The alliance, which marks an end to Daimler's efforts to
develop an autonomous car largely on its own, comes as tech
companies and auto makers like BMW are forming rival
Financial terms of the deal, announced on Tuesday, were not
Bosch, which was founded in 1886, the same year that
Mercedes founder Carl Benz patented the motorcar, will develop
software and algorithms needed for autonomous driving together
with the Stuttgart-based carmaker.
Teaming up with Bosch helps Mercedes throw more engineering
resources at autonomous cars, allowing it to bring forward the
date for having a production-ready system for autonomous cars by
The autonomous system will now be ready by the beginning of
next decade, Daimler said, without disclosing when it had first
envisaged the commercial launch of robo-taxis.
"The prime objective of the project is to achieve the
production-ready development of a driving system which will
allow cars to drive fully autonomously in the city," Daimler
said in a statement on Tuesday.
The German carmaker has set its sights on the
smartphone-based ride-hailing market which is currently
dominated by China's Didi, and United States based Uber and Lyft
Last year, Goldman Sachs projected the market for advanced
driver assistance systems and autonomous vehicles would grow
from about $3 billion in 2015 to $96 billion in 2025 and $290
billion in 2035.
"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," Daimler said.
"The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the
driver rather than the other way round."
(Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Pravin Char)