Daimler CEO says Apple, other Silicon Valley firms 'can do more' than anticipated in cars

Posted:
in Future Apple Hardware edited January 2016
Silicon Valley tech companies are doing better than anticipated in the automotive realm, said Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche after he and other company executives concluded talks with dozens of firms in the region.

Tesla's Model S, which already has some self-piloting functions.
Tesla's Model S, which already has some self-piloting functions.


"Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed. At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought," Zetsche told Germany's Welt am Sonntag, according to Reuters. The Daimler team met with roughly 70 companies in all.

"There were concrete talks. I will not say anything about the content," Zetsche continued. "It was not just about the fact that there is an innovative spirit in the Valley. We know that already. We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it."

Though the CEO didn't mention any of the visited companies by name, one of them may have been Apple. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has referred to Apple's electric car project as an "open secret," and while Apple is unlikely to have divulged many details, in the case of a company like Daimler it could be willing to acknowledge its interest or discuss potential partnerships.

Apple, Google, Tesla, and several traditional carmakers are all believed to be working on self-driving cars, though the first consumer models are likely several years away. Apple's for instance may not hit roads until 2019 or 2020, and even then the company may or may not decide to leave self-driving systems for later.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 11
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,007member
    I can see the work being done for self-driving cars as helping both simple and complex navigation and assisted driving (like self parking and automated braking) features but I just don't see self-driving vehicles being allowed or even working on most streets and freeways for many decades. I grew up with the Jetsons and their futuristic modes of transportation. I liked how self-driving vehicles were portrayed in iRobot but this movie also showed that humans need to continue to be responsible for their actions. I just can't see the vast majority of people giving up their ability to drive their own car, putting their life in the hands of a computer controlled car, especially after the fiasco in the Patriots and Broncos game yesterday. No, I'm not blaming Microsoft (haha) but I'm sure these self-driving cars will end up being in constant contact with some kind of distributed/centralized "driving" computer that ends up monitoring and coordinating all the vehicles on the road. This is the part that worries me the most.
    diplication
  • Reply 2 of 11
    The problem with the BIG 3 auto makers is that they have always thoughts to be bigger and better that their competition. They never though Nissan, Toyota, etc. would be selling the amount of cars that they are. They underestimated them for many many years and now they are fighting to gain back marketshare. Now these tech companies are getting into the industry and again the BIG 3 underestimated what these companies could do and they will lose out again. Tesla has already been successful and are doing the most innovative things in the market currently. I own a car shipping company, so I get to see the vehicles, be inside them, know what customers like and don't like. People are wanting more tech cars and want to be more environmentally friendly which is why Tesla is doing great and other companies are striving to get a car out to compete with Tesla. Google and Apple will come along and really change the landscape of the auto industry as we know it. You all just wait and see.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 3 of 11
    rob53 said:
    I can see the work being done for self-driving cars as helping both simple and complex navigation and assisted driving (like self parking and automated braking) features but I just don't see self-driving vehicles being allowed or even working on most streets and freeways for many decades. I grew up with the Jetsons and their futuristic modes of transportation. I liked how self-driving vehicles were portrayed in iRobot but this movie also showed that humans need to continue to be responsible for their actions. I just can't see the vast majority of people giving up their ability to drive their own car, putting their life in the hands of a computer controlled car, especially after the fiasco in the Patriots and Broncos game yesterday. No, I'm not blaming Microsoft (haha) but I'm sure these self-driving cars will end up being in constant contact with some kind of distributed/centralized "driving" computer that ends up monitoring and coordinating all the vehicles on the road. This is the part that worries me the most.
    I totally agree with you. People that think there are going to be fleets of autonomous vehicles driving around without people in them are not really looking at all the logistics that need to be behind something like that. One of many is who is responsible if something goes wrong and someone is injured or worse. I don't see them getting a thumbs up from the government for some of the reasons you mentioned.
    diplication
  • Reply 4 of 11
    zimmiezimmie Posts: 210member
    rob53 said:
    ... I'm sure these self-driving cars will end up being in constant contact with some kind of distributed/centralized "driving" computer that ends up monitoring and coordinating all the vehicles on the road. This is the part that worries me the most.
    Actually, the self-driving cars currently on the road are self-contained. That's the simplest way to make them play nice with human drivers. The self-driving systems from Tesla and Mercedes-Benz assume almost nothing about other cars besides physical limitations like how cars can't drive sideways. Tesla only enables theirs on private property, but it can theoretically take you anywhere within the range of the car if it were allowed on public roads.

    Mercedes-Benz' S-class models have been slowly gaining self-driving capabilities for decades. Recent models can do automatic lane changes, automatic overtaking, automatic traffic signal recognition, everything. For liability reasons, they require the driver's hands on the wheel, even when the wheel is moving itself. They have managed fully-automated trips on the Autobahn. There was also a notable fully-automated tour in 1995 from Munich to Copenhagen and back.

    I think it is very unlikely that self-driving cars will be controlled by any kind of central computer. That just wouldn't be a good idea for a huge number of reasons.
    edited January 2016
  • Reply 5 of 11
    zimmie said:
     The self-driving systems from Tesla and Mercedes-Benz assume almost nothing about other cars besides physical limitations like how cars can't drive sideways.
    ..that's a silly assumption.   At least where there are teenage (or older) drivers and fresh snow.  The trick is to recognize how well the driver of said car is controlling it.
    [really... the first rule of defensive driving in Minnesota is figuring out how good the driver is in front of you, and factoring that into a chaos theory equation combining newton's laws of motion, and current the coefficient of friction.
  • Reply 6 of 11
    rob53 said:
    I can see the work being done for self-driving cars as helping both simple and complex navigation and assisted driving (like self parking and automated braking) features but I just don't see self-driving vehicles being allowed or even working on most streets and freeways for many decades. I grew up with the Jetsons and their futuristic modes of transportation. I liked how self-driving vehicles were portrayed in iRobot but this movie also showed that humans need to continue to be responsible for their actions. I just can't see the vast majority of people giving up their ability to drive their own car, putting their life in the hands of a computer controlled car, especially after the fiasco in the Patriots and Broncos game yesterday. No, I'm not blaming Microsoft (haha) but I'm sure these self-driving cars will end up being in constant contact with some kind of distributed/centralized "driving" computer that ends up monitoring and coordinating all the vehicles on the road. This is the part that worries me the most.
    I agree, but then some poltical agenda can change this. If some genius mandates this then you will end up with a vehicle that will be controlled centrally and human actions will be considered inferior plus they could lead to legal actions. This is the "progressive" world we are living in today. For the record I have lived a bit longer and I grew in the similar times as Steve Jobs and few others grew... mayby only slightly younger. So I am sharing cross-discipline experience from historic point of view.
  • Reply 7 of 11
    This is a far more substantive article than that AI piece about "Project Titan in Deep Freeze" or whatever. That must be the reason why there are SO many comments in this thread!

    Oh, wait....

    edited January 2016
  • Reply 8 of 11
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    rob53 said:
    I can see the work being done for self-driving cars as helping both simple and complex navigation and assisted driving (like self parking and automated braking) features but I just don't see self-driving vehicles being allowed or even working on most streets and freeways for many decades. I grew up with the Jetsons and their futuristic modes of transportation. I liked how self-driving vehicles were portrayed in iRobot but this movie also showed that humans need to continue to be responsible for their actions. I just can't see the vast majority of people giving up their ability to drive their own car, putting their life in the hands of a computer controlled car, especially after the fiasco in the Patriots and Broncos game yesterday. No, I'm not blaming Microsoft (haha) but I'm sure these self-driving cars will end up being in constant contact with some kind of distributed/centralized "driving" computer that ends up monitoring and coordinating all the vehicles on the road. This is the part that worries me the most.
    I agree, but then some poltical agenda can change this. If some genius mandates this then you will end up with a vehicle that will be controlled centrally and human actions will be considered inferior plus they could lead to legal actions. This is the "progressive" world we are living in today. For the record I have lived a bit longer and I grew in the similar times as Steve Jobs and few others grew... mayby only slightly younger. So I am sharing cross-discipline experience from historic point of view.
    Central control could occur for traffic control, a bit like what people do by listening to traffic info on their radio (because the overall system info is obviously not in the car), but low level, sensor reaction control would remain in the car, where reaction time is primordial. Collecting terabyte per second of sensor info will be the norm in 20-30 years.
    Cars driven with this, will be 100 times safer than our current cars even if they don't communicate with other cars.
    Communicating with other cars give them info beyond their sensor range, or even before sensors can catch it.

    If a car decides to change direction, it could sent that info to other cars at the same time it implements it in its own system, the other car's sensors would be looking out for it, focusing more on that car (a bit like putting on blinkers), making cars around even safer.


    Giving up some control for convenience is something people do every day; nothing sinister about it, unless you think government and corporations are "evil". I know some people think that..


    edited January 2016
  • Reply 9 of 11
    I live in Thailand where cars and trucks are insured when registered. The cars brakes are tested and vehicle inspected and then the insurance applies to the vehicle. Anyone with a license can drive. It is assumed that no one wants to get hurt and will drive accordingly. Thailand is 95 % Budist and people largely have respect for each other. Maybe that helps . I guess it is a form of no fault insurance. I like it because it is cheap. My truck costs me about 200 dollars a year for registration and insurance.

  • Reply 10 of 11
    rob53 said:
    I can see the work being done for self-driving cars as helping both simple and complex navigation and assisted driving (like self parking and automated braking) features but I just don't see self-driving vehicles being allowed or even working on most streets and freeways for many decades. I grew up with the Jetsons and their futuristic modes of transportation. I liked how self-driving vehicles were portrayed in iRobot but this movie also showed that humans need to continue to be responsible for their actions. I just can't see the vast majority of people giving up their ability to drive their own car, putting their life in the hands of a computer controlled car, especially after the fiasco in the Patriots and Broncos game yesterday. No, I'm not blaming Microsoft (haha) but I'm sure these self-driving cars will end up being in constant contact with some kind of distributed/centralized "driving" computer that ends up monitoring and coordinating all the vehicles on the road. This is the part that worries me the most.
    The number of companies that manufacture components of an automobile, components that are industry standard, far out number the total of actual car manufacturers.  In fact there are no car "manufacturers" anymore, just car assemblers.

    Apple isn't going to manufacture/assemble a self driving car, they are going to develop self driving technology and make it available to car manufacturers.

    Name a computer manufacturer that manufactures all the elements of their computer.  There aren't any.  The closest is Apple, only because it develops the OS that goes into its computers.  All other components of a computer come from third party manufacturers.

    Better that Apple supply the auto industry, than compete with them.
  • Reply 11 of 11
    foggyhill said:
    "Cars driven with this, will be 100 times safer than our current cars even if they don't communicate with other cars."
    Google's self driving cars have well over a million miles of real time driving on public roads, and have been involved in fewer than a dozen collisions.  In each and every case the vehicle at fault was the human controlled vehicle.

    As a retired police officer I can safely state that 99.99% of all traffic collisions are caused by human error.  Eliminate the human and driving just became safer by several orders of magnitude.
    edited January 2016
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