The Next Avenue recently reported that Mercedes-Benz is halting self-driving efforts according to a German report. The report surfaced on the heals of Tesla’s release of its Full Self-Driving Beta update and the news of Waymo starting its self-driving, ride-sharing service in Phoenix with a Mercedes spokesperson stating “We don’t compete in any race that we can no longer win.”
Mercedes-Benz has now denied the report saying they are still focused on developing autonomous driving technology for their consumer vehicles. However, the new partnership announcement involving Waymo will focus on trucks, not consumer cars.
In the announcement, the two companies stated they will develop a self-driving Freightliner Cascadia class 8 truck: “Our initial effort will combine The World’s Most Experienced Driver with Daimler’s Freightliner Cascadia to enable fully autonomous driving. These fully autonomous trucks, equipped with the Waymo Driver, will be available to US customers in the coming years, and we’ll explore expansion into other geographies and brands in the near future. We look forward to working with Daimler to achieve our common goal of improving road safety and efficiency for fleet customers.”
Chief executive officer at Waymo, John Krafcik, said about the partnership “We have the highest regard for Daimler’s engineering skills and broad global truck product portfolio, and so we look forward to scaling the Waymo Driver, together with our new partner, to improve road safety and logistics efficiency on the worlds’ roadways.”
Chairman of the board of management of Daimler Truck, Martin Daum added to Krafcik’s comments “As leader of our industry, Daimler Trucks is the pioneer of automated trucking. In recent years, we have achieved significant progress on our global road map to bringing series-produced highly automated trucks to the road. With our strategic partnership with Waymo as the leader in autonomous driving, we are taking another important step toward that goal. This partnership complements Daimler Trucks’ dual strategy approach, of working with two strong partners to deliver autonomous L4 solutions that are seamlessly integrated with our best-in class trucks, to our customers.”