It started with Google's self-driving car. Although nothing much came of the concept at the time, it drew closer the gap between science fiction and reality. While there may not be self-driving cars frequenting our towns and cities in 2017, the technology to bring them to the roads is ready to go. After all, commercial jets can fly themselves.
A new generation of computers and robots are transforming industries globally. And the way we go about our lives includes more digital devices. Modern cars already rely on complex computer systems, but rather than their human drivers having to learn about future ones, car manufacturers are looking to skip the next levels and go all-out to level 5 full autonomy. What the industry calls 'eyes off, brain off.'
In 2012, Google didn't conceive their prototype alone. Bosch, global leaders at supplying advanced driver assistance systems, was the lesser-known half behind creating the first self-driving car. Though, it wasn't a unique idea. Mercedes-Benz let the world know they were in the race by putting a self-driving limousine on the roads of Germany; it drove for over 60 miles.
The race to level 5 is on
The Mercedes E-Class is currently at level 2. It can drive itself down the motorway, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, and stay in lane. Daimler, parent company to Mercedes-Benz, have been pushing to develop a commercially viable fully autonomous car for some time. But now, with Bosch's help, as BMW and Intel develop technology to get their self-driving cars in showrooms by 2021, Team Mercedes-Bosch's introduction of robo-taxis will give everybody a chance to ride in one by 2025. Christoph von Hugo of Mercedes-Benz said, "We don't want to wait until level 3 has arrived before we start with level 4 or 5. That will be too late."
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