Tag Archives: robot

Mercedes Targets Silicon Valley Rivals With Robo-Taxis by 2023

by Elisabeth Behrmann
Daimler, Bosch plot autonomous cars for California, Germany
Self-driving vehicles set to grab market share: study
Daimler AG and the world’s biggest auto-parts maker plan to offer robo-taxis in the U.S. and Germany within six years, as competition to become the first provider of autonomous shared cars intensifies.

Daimler’s Mercedes-Benz division and automotive technology giant Robert Bosch GmbH have teamed up to run the vehicles in at least four locations, including Silicon Valley and their hometown of Stuttgart, according to a statement on Tuesday. Competing with newer entrants such as Uber Technologies Inc. and traditional rival BMW AG, the project will allow customers to order automated cars via smartphone.

Source: Mercedes-Benz – Daimler AG
“The idea behind it is that the vehicle should come to the driver rather than the other way round,” Daimler, parent of the world’s biggest luxury-car maker and Bosch said in the statement. The venture will have a workforce of a few hundred people.

Carmakers and new competitors like ride-hailing startup Uber are pouring billions into making vehicles smart enough to navigate streets on their own. While some traditional manufacturers such as Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV are tying up with technology providers to save costs, Daimler is developing models for a new era of self-driving vehicles largely on its own.

Building a fleet of robo-taxis will allow the German company, which is also the world’s largest maker of commercial vehicles and the owner of the Smart city-car brand, to monetize the technology once it hits the mainstream and avoid becoming a lower-margin hardware supplier to Silicon Valley newcomers. It also allows Daimler to retain control of the relationship with drivers and the valuable data they generate — even if they no longer own the cars they ride.

Beating Rivals

The partnership between two German automotive heavyweights is part of a broader shift as the industry braces for disruption. Daimler must adjust to “fundamental changes” as autos become increasingly capable of driving themselves and run on electric motors, Chairman Manfred Bischoff said at the annual shareholders meeting last week.

Investing in the future has been costly for Daimler, which has been experimenting with autonomous features for years. The company warned its profit will rise only slightly in 2017, as research and development costs continue to climb after jumping 15 percent last year to 7.6 billion euros.

Daimler has already branched into new services in response to shifts in how people use vehicles. In 2015, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen AG’s Audi division joined up to buy Nokia Oyj’s HERE real-time maps unit for 2.8 billion euros. The Daimler-Bosch venture will use HERE’s technology. The reliability of self-driving vehicles will be a critical focus of the new project after Uber suspended an automated-car trial because of a crash in Arizona last month.

The Mercedes parent also owns the Car2Go auto-sharing business, with 2.2 million global members, and cab-hailing app Mytaxi, which merged with its U.K. equivalent Hailo last year. The German manufacturer bought U.S. ride-booking service RideScout LLC in 2014 and runs Moovel, which combines taxi, car and bicycle sharing services with public transport.

Even if shifting into services and self-driving vehicles risks sapping demand for private cars, there may be no alternative for manufacturers. Autonomous vehicles will probably make up 25 percent of new car sales by 2035, according to a Boston Consulting Group study.

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Is Your Current JOB Replaceable by a ROBOT in the Next 5 Years?

It’s a vital question. Take a moment and think over it!!! As per a report by the University of Oxford, 47% of Jobs in US, 35% in UK and a whopping 77% in China are estimated to get automated. A quest arises, are we moving towards a ‘workerless’ world? The World is headed towards a more precision and error free operations whilst slipping into chaos day by day. Making sense of the world we live in is a tough task but the most we can do is safeguard our futures individually. We are seeing a rise in Self-Employment, Free Lancers and Entrepreneurship over the last decade. But how competent and sustainable will it be when the world gets even more fierce in terms of competition? A Small piece of pie will be chased by many. We need to brace ourselves for this coming time.

People in their 20s and 30s will be the most affected because of Automation. It is set to have a cascading effect on multiple industries and support functions displacing millions from jobs. Though Computers and Robots will make work processes more accurate and easy they will need highly skilled workforce to manage them. Constant skill upgradation embracing new systems and technologies will be needed by the future workforce. The element of ‘Human’ factor will slowly minimize making humans go crazy over machines and technology. It’s an uncertain world we are headed for which will have no place for low-skilled and semi-skilled workforce which make up a substantial chunk of the economy. Many say that Computers will enhance the existing work operations thereby assisting or complimenting the human ‘Brain’ and thought processes and therefore Automation should not be painted with a grey picture.


But have we thought of the millions of low-skilled and semi-skilled workforces which anyway will get displaced and the effect on the subsequent families associated with them. China, the world’s manufacturing hub is headed towards rising joblessness index as automation is slowly setting in. Foxconn, the manufacturer of iPhones recently replaced 60000 of its workforce with Automation Robots. Just as the world saw a gradual phase out of Tellers at Banks because of ATM’s, aggregations and app based functions will bring disruptions in industries. How do we govern and regulate all this? We are soon approaching a stage where development is crossing that threshold of sustainable development to destructive automation which has no place for Human Emotions and Human Factor. We who have created it are becoming victims of our own creation.  Transportation and Commutation is witnessing a revolution through 'Driver-Less Cars and Drones'. Uber, the world's leading Cab aggregator is set to test Driver-less cars in its network.

Populous countries like India and China are seeing mass displacement of people caused due to the sudden spurt in technology. Demographics of such nations are seeing a dramatic change and shift in lifestyles. India carried out a Demonetisation drive in the last quarter of 2016 wiping out 85% of Cash from the system's economy thereby encouraging the population to adopt Digital Payment Systems and Banking Channels. It was alarming to see the chaos and unrest across the length and breadth of the country throwing most of the people into a frenzy. The picture is slowly transforming now. People have realised the need to adapt Digital payments and Banking channels. 

We cannot stop automation from invading our daily lives but we surely must take steps to make the current and next generation adaptable to the new world. Millennials who are currently working in the Telemarketing, Insurance, Banking, Manufacturing, Transportation, Retail and Construction profiles need to start preparing themselves actively for the automated world which will soon knock on their doors. The question will surely arise as to what exactly can be done when the future seems so grim? In the words of Google Chairman Eric Schmidt, the future world will be more of individualistic profiles competing against each other. Physical presence will matter no more but a virtual presence and virtual image on the 15-inch mobile device we carry will bear immense importance.

At Asterizk, we interact on a regular basis with Technology, Government and Industry Leaders through our think tank sessions which has really enabled us to bridge that gap and create programs and services customized to help working professionals brace for the Automated world. Interacting with individuals, youngsters, free lancers, self-employed professionals, college graduates to Senior Management officials has really made us realize and wonder over the power of human potential. There will be a need for human touch and human interference even in the automated world. We just need to strike the right balance to make sense of the world of automation.

At Asterizk, we are taking steps to amalgamate the smallest factor of working force with the automated world to make Automation more meaningful for all the sections of the society. We are taking steps to make every low skilled and semi-skilled individual realize his value, build upon his value and make him ready for the automated world. It’s an uphill task but when we have a collective desire to make a difference and bring about a change even the impossible seems possible.

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Co-Founder and Director

ASTERIZK is a leading Business Intelligence and Resource Development Company Conceptualised, Strategized and Incorporated to service the Corporate Learning, Knowledge Management, Business Intelligence, Personal Branding and Networking Work Space. 

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