Bosch, Daimler end joint robotaxi project

August 11, 2021 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Bosch, Daimler end joint robotaxi project
Technology group Bosch and vehicle manufacturer Daimler are in the process of winding up the joint robotaxi development project Athena. Both companies point to milestones achieved, but technical problems may also have played a role.

Bosch and Daimler have confirmed media reports about the premature end of the Athena joint project. According to the reports, the two companies are currently in talks about the timetable and conditions for the termination. In the joint project, the two companies have been working since 2018 to develop software, hardware and sensor technology for fully autonomous vehicles ("robotaxis") for use in urban environments. In this context, the newspaper Automobilwoche quoted Bosch CEO Harald Kröger as saying that the challenges of developing a robotaxi were "greater than many had thought".

The project aimed to develop techniques for fully automated driving (SAE Level 4) and driverless driving (SAE Level 5). Spokespersons for Bosch and Daimler pointed to the progress that has now been made in the technical field. "The cooperation between Bosch and Daimler has reached important milestones, for example in the field of environment awareness, localisation and driving strategy," said a Bosch press spokeswoman.

She pointed out that the companies have jointly put pilot vehicles and experimental vehicles on the road both in California and in complex German urban traffic, which robustly and safely negotiated challenging routes without the need for safety drivers to intervene. "We have already successfully piloted an app-based ride-sharing service with automated driving S-Class vehicles in San José in Silicon Valley in 2019," a Daimler spokeswoman said. "Furthermore, important new technologies, software and patents have been developed in the areas of environment awareness, localisation and driving strategy, among others."

Independently, both companies stressed that the termination of the project was decided on the best of terms and that the two partners will continue to carry out joint projects in the future. "The results achieved are to be transferred to the respective further, independent development of the two companies. Bosch and Daimler will continue to work together in a spirit of trust," said the Bosch

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