Do you know the way to San Jose? It doesn’t matter if you’re in a self-driving car. As they previewed earlier this year, Bosch and Mercedes-Benz have commenced trials for an automated ride-hailing service in the Silicon Valley city of San Jose. To start with, autonomous S-Class Mercedes-Benz vehicles (with safety drivers at the wheel) will shuttle “a select group of users” between North San Jose and downtown.
The busy San Carlos/Stevens Creek corridor between west San Jose and downtown should be good test for the self-driving tech used by Mercedes and Bosch. Rather than just playing with prototypes, the companies want to create a production-ready SAE Level 4/5 self-driving system that can be built into different makes and models. To do that, they’re using a combination of AI, a million-square foot proving ground in Stuttgart and the real world San Jose ride-hailing tests.
San Jose is expected to grow by 40 percent over the next two years, so the city wants to see the impact of autonomous cars. “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,” said San Jose project director Dolan Beckel in a statement. “If automated driving is to become everyday reality, the technology has to work reliably and safely.”