Google and Apple are making great progress with self-driving cars, more than it was previously assumed. This is the assessment of Dieter Zetsche, Chief Executive of Daimler after a recent trip to Silicon Valley, one that was published in the German weekly Welt am Sonntag.
While Apple is keeping quiet about how far it’s come with its vehicle development, Google’s self-driving cars are happily roaming the streets around Silicon Valley.
It’s safe to assume both companies will eventually make their plans public, even though their current advances are fairly unknown to us. In other words, just how good will these cars be, considering that neither Apple nor Google are known for vehicle design and manufacturing?
However, there’s little to worry about, seeing that both tech companies have the gravitas (and the cash) to build any production process and get just about any talent they want.
Carmakers on one hand and Silicon Valley companies on the other are working diligently to present to the world the best self-driving car, which makes an interesting competition in a fairly new field.
Back in 2012, Google first tested its own prototype vehicle, to which Daimler’s luxury brand Mercedes-Benz replied with the S-Class limousine, a superb car which could drive 103 kilometers without the need of a driver’s input.
In spite of never having been confirmed directly by Apple, rumors have going round about the tech company working on its own car prototype. According to Zetsche’s assessment, these tech giants “can do more and know more than we had previously assumed.”
In the company of a handful of senior managers, Zetsche met with nearly 70 firms down in Silicon Valley, whose names remain undisclosed. He also added that his impression is that these companies have more respect for the achievements of the car industry than he thought.
Meeting with already established brands as well as start-up firms, Zetsche found plenty of “innovative spirit in the Valley.” While talks of collaboration have taken place, Zetsche refused to comment anything about their content.
Daimler’s Chief Executive said Mercedes-Benz is expected to see significant growth in the United States by the end of this year. Overall, he approximates the market for passenger cars will grow between 1 percent and 1.5 percent in 2016.
At the same time, Zetsche also talked about the three days that the KBA – Germany’s vehicle authority – has spent testing various Mercedes and Smart models in search of any violations in terms of emissions standards. It turns out everything’s top-notch, as “no conspicuous emissions levels were found.”
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