Some automakers are content to largely go it alone developing self-driving cars. Bosch and Daimler, on the other hand, are teaming up to bring a very specific kind of car to market in the next few years... hopefully.
Daimler, the parent company of Mercedes-Benz, is teaming up with supplier Bosch in order to jointly develop and introduce a system for SAE Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous driving. The goal is to introduce this system into a taxi built for urban driving in just three years.
SAE Level 4 means the vehicle has mode-dependent autonomy, so it can drive itself and monitor the environment in certain modes, taking action even if a driver is unable to respond to prompts. SAE Level 5 is true, unfettered autonomy, where the human is merely a piece of fleshy cargo.
The two companies have different strengths, which means the partnership won't be just a butting of heads. Daimler will wield its vehicular expertise, whereas Bosch will focus on the system and hardware side. With a strong delineation of responsibility, the two hope to hit that 2020 deadline -- without sacrificing safety, of course.
Note that the pair aren't intent on delivering an entire autonomous ecosystem. They're only focused on one small piece of the puzzle -- improving urban traffic. The hope is that there will be other benefits, as well, including increasing mobility options for people without driver's licenses, and reducing the number of vehicles on the road by making car-sharing more attractive.
Daimler's already given us a hint of what it believes self-driving cars will be like. The F015 concept, which was unveiled in 2015, completely upends modern car design by creating an interior that focuses on increasing productivity.
Bosch has been hard at work on its next-gen systems as well. Its new central gateway acts as a secure router for future cars, with an emphasis on securing over-the-air updates. It's also working to develop personalization systems for future vehicles, which can recognize individual drivers and tailor the entire in-car experience to a person's tastes.