Daimler CEO says Apple and Google are getting nearer to making a self-driving car

Article by Andrew Christian, on February 28, 2016

It seems that tech giants Apple and Google are progressing on automotive projects faster than the top honcho of German carmaker Daimler had assumed. Daimler chief executive Dieter Zetsche told German weekly Welt am Sonntag that Silicon Valley companies that are working to develop a self-driving car seemed to know and can do more than assumed.

He noted that these companies have more respect for Daimler’s achievements than they thought. Google is currently testing prototype vehicles and is seeking partners from the auto industry, the company car’s project leader John Krafcik recently told the Automotive News World Congress.

There were also rumors that Apple is working on a vehicle, but the company did not confirm any speculations. In response to Google’s car project, Mercedes-Benz developed an S-class sedan that managed to drive 103 km (64 miles) sans any driver input.

Zetsche brought along a number of senior managers in visiting around 70 companies in Silicon Valley, according to the Welt am Sonntag report. He told the paper that they had concrete talks with those companies. He noted that the visit was what drives the innovative spirit that drives Silicon Valley, and the things that can be created from it.

Zetsche told the paper that Mercedes-Benz is expected to log significant growth in the United States in 2016. He expects the overall market for passenger cars to grow between 1 percent and 1.5 percent, the report said.

On the other hand, Zetsche said that officials from KBA – Germany's vehicle authority – spent three days testing various Mercedes and Smart models to determine whether these vehicles violated emissions standards. He noted that to his knowledge, KBA has yet to find conspicuous emissions levels.

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