San José partners with Mercedes-Benz and Bosch on self-driving car pilot

The City of San José has announced a partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Bosch to pilot self-driving cars on the city’s streets, as part of its autonomous vehicles programme, launched in 2017.

During the project, the partners will seek to test the potential for autonomous vehicles to improve roadway safety, lessen the environmental impact of driving, and provide more equitable access to jobs, services and other amenities in California’s third-largest city.

"We have to rethink urban transportation. Automated driving will help us complete the picture of future urban traffic."

Dr. Stephan Hönle, Robert Bosch GmbH

“Autonomous vehicles provide an opportunity to explore how to better meet the transportation needs of our diverse community – including our seniors, people with disabilities and other residents with limited transportation options,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo.

“In addition, by collaborating with companies on real-world deployments, we’ll gain valuable data and insight that will help us prepare for the rapidly-approaching day when autonomous vehicles are a common sight on our streets.”

The self-driving project trials, targeted to begin during the second half of 2019, will see highly automated Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans operating an on-demand ride-hailing service in the city’s San Carlos/Stevens Creek corridor. The vehicles will carry two safety drivers, who will monitor the car’s performance and be ready to resume control in an emergency.

The pilot project will use data from the city’s interconnected traffic signals system, allowing Mercedes-Benz and Bosch to evaluate the benefits of tapping into the system to provide their automated vehicles with greater precision for trip planning and timing.

“With this pilot we will generate valuable insights to connect fully automated vehicles in the best way with users of future mobility services,” said Dr. Michael Hafner, Vice President Drive Technologies and Automated Driving at Daimler AG.

Dr. Stephan Hönle, senior vice president of the Automated Driving business unit at Robert Bosch GmbH, said: “We have to rethink urban transportation. Automated driving will help us complete the picture of future urban traffic.”