Bosch and Daimler are bringing autonomous driving technology to urban roads by the beginning of the next decade. The newly-announced collaboration will take place in multiple locations in Germany and Silicon Valley, with employees of Bosch and of Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz Research & Development group working side by side. The two companies have entered into a development agreement to bring fully automated (SAE Level 4) and driverless (SAE Level 5) driving to urban roads in the next decade.

The ultimate goal? Vehicles that come to drivers, rather than the other way around. By combining the total vehicle expertise of the world’s leading premium automotive manufacturer with the system and hardware expertise of the world’s biggest supplier, the companies aim to develop software and algorithms for a production-ready autonomous driving system.

Imagine using your smartphone to order a driverless, shared car or “robot” taxi. Imagine a quicker commute, safer roads and more accessibility. The promise of autonomous driving lies in these benefits, and more. “A fully automated driving system will improve our lives in so many ways,” said Axel Gern, Head of Autonomous Driving at Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America. “From improving the flow of traffic in cities, to enhancing safety on the road, to opening up new mobility opportunities for people without the ability to drive, this partnership will provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future.”

Primarily, cooperation between the two companies will occur in the greater Stuttgart area in Germany and Sunnyvale, Calif. The team collaborating in Germany will focus on vehicle integration, fleet management, sensors, control unit development and development of the Vehicle Control Center. The Sunnyvale team will focus on algorithm development and machine learning. The technology developed through this agreement will align with standards set by automotive industry standards organization SAE International, specifically Level 4 (fully automated) and Level 5 (driverless).

Employees from both Daimler and Bosch will work alongside employees of Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America at its headquarters in Sunnyvale, where research and development is currently focused on sensor fusion (creation of the environment model from various sensor signals), localization and mapping (identifying the location of a vehicle on a map), prediction and behavior planning, and test concepts.

By introducing fully automated and driverless driving to the urban environment, Bosch and Daimler aim to improve the flow of traffic in cities, enhance safety on the road and provide an important building block for the way traffic will work in the future. The technology will, among other things, boost the attraction of car sharing. It will allow people to make the best possible use of their time in the vehicle and open up new mobility opportunities for people without a driver’s license, for example.

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. The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the driver rather than the other way round. Within a specified area of town, costumers will be able to order an automated shared car via their smartphone. The vehicle will then make its way autonomously to the user and the onward journey can commence.