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Daimler, Bosch to bring self-driving taxis in California test program

German automaker Daimler AG and auto supplier Bosch Corp are going to deploy self-driving taxis in California’s Silicon Valley region in 2019 as part of a test program of vehicles designated for city driving, the two companies stated on Tuesday.

The world’s largest maker of premium cars and biggest automotive provider gave some information about their robo-taxi program, defined as a passenger shuttle service, and did not mentioned which city would host it. Negotiations with the municipality under the sprawling technology hub of Silicon Valley were still underway, they stated on a conference call with journalists.

Worldwide automakers, providers and tech companies such as Alphabet’s Waymo and Uber are pouring resources into the development of autonomous driving units and launching networks of test fleets across the world aimed at pushing the technology forward.

The extremely complex obstacles of self-driving, and the expense of research and development, has result in a host of partnerships between automakers, providers and others.

Bosch and Daimler, with its passenger auto brand Mercedes-Benz, first joined forces in a self-driving alliance in April last year, with teams from both companies collaborating together in Stuttgart and Silicon Valley.

Executives from the companies would not comment on the possible size of the pilot program, neither how many automobiles would be used, or customers served. Although California would be the first pilot site, others could follow, they stated.

The automobiles will include a safety driver and a steering wheel, they stated.

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