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San José, Mercedes-Benz, and Bosch launch automated driving pilot project
Partnership tests potential of autonomous vehicle services to address safety and quality of life issues
Mercedes-Benz and Bosch announced the launch of their highly anticipated automated driving pilot project on December 9. The two firms have partnered with the City of San José to develop the project, which will help them develop an app-based ridesharing service while also testing autonomous vehicles' potential to address safety and quality-of-life concerns in an urban environment.
On June 1st 2017, San José became the first city in the nation to proactively invite the private sector to be a partner in demonstrating the capabilities of autonomous vehicle technology to address critical transportation challenges. Specifically, San José issued a request for information to learn more about how autonomous vehicles could help the city address traffic safety concerns, improve access to mobility, fight crippling traffic, and improve environmental sustainability. The partnership with Mercedes-Benz and Bosch aligns with San José’s broader “Smart City” goals to demonstrate cutting-edge and innovative technologies to better prepare for a future transportation system.
From August through November, Mercedes-Benz representatives joined staff from the City of San José to discuss the project with community organizations. At seven meetings of neighborhood and business groups along the corridor, the team discussed the project goals, demonstrated the vehicle technology, explained the layers of safety redundancy built into the project, and took suggestions for future use cases. '
In addition to this effort, the Knight Foundation awarded the City of San José a grant to use community engagement to inform how autonomous vehicles and other "emerging mobility" can help tackle transportation challenges faced by residents. In July, IDEO CoLab and Gehl lead an ambitious community engagement effort in the Buena Vista neighborhood to learn more about the struggles neighbors face when trying to get around safely and conveniently.
A frequent question heard at the outreach events was, “When can I go for a ride?” Though currently only available for use by a limited, pre-selected group of individuals, the project aims to eventually open up to a broader group of users.
For more information, contact Public Information Manager Colin Heyne at (408) 975-3705.