Exclusive Daimler Development Chief Expects Rapid Advances in Self-Driving Cars

Mercedes-maker Daimler anticipates rapid advances in self-driving automobile technology starting in 2020, the automaker’s new development chief, Ola Källenius , told Handelsblatt. “We are consciously leaving it open when commercial production in large numbers will begin,” Mr. Källenius said in an interview. “But I can tell you it will really start to take off between 2020 and 2025.” Mr. Källenius, who took over the reigns as Daimler’s chief of development this month, said significant progress has been made with camera and sensor technology. The main challenge is developing high-resolution maps and artificial intelligence to accurately guide self-driving vehicles, he said. “It will take a long time, but by 2020 we will definitely have enough relevant data,” Mr. Källenius said. “We still need artificial intelligence that can evaluate all the data and react to any situation in fractions of a second.” Daimler, Audi and BMW banded together in 2015 to purchase the location service HERE from Nokia for $3.1 billion (€2.8 billion) to develop high-resolution maps for self-driving cars. BMW has also partnered with the microprocessor maker Intel and the Israeli software firm Mobileye, which makes sensors, to develop an industry standard for self-driving cars. Mr. Källenius said Daimler doesn’t plan to join the partnership with Mobileye for the time being. “Mobileye is one of many suppliers,” he said. “We want to keep the competition open and don’t want to commit to a single partner.” Read the full story in Handelsblatt Global on Monday.