The city of San Jose is launching its self-driving vehicle pilot with Mercedes-Benz and Bosch.

This pilot is the first to come out of San Jose's AV program, launched in 2017.

"The program will make San Jose a technology-rich testbed for the new technology and aligns with the city’s objectives to address Silicon Valley’s growing transportation challenges," the city's press release reads.

The pilot's focus is on testing AVs for roadway safety, minimizing environmental impact and easing traffic congestion. The plan is to use data from interconnected traffic signals in the city to provide ride hailing services to assist the already transit-focused area. The program will also collect data and record customer experiences for future development. 

“Autonomous vehicles provide an opportunity to explore how to better meet the transportation needs of our diverse community — including our seniors, people with disabilities and other residents with limited transportation options,” said Mayor Sam Liccardo. “In addition, by collaborating with companies on real-world deployments, we’ll gain valuable data and insight that will help us prepare for the rapidly approaching day when autonomous vehicles are a common sight on our streets.”

The city's acting director of transportation said the agreement will focus on solving transportation challenges "that are expected to intensify as the population grows 40 percent in the next 22 years.” 

The on-demand portion of the pilot is estimated to begin in the second half of 2019.

The pilot is meant to include:

  • The San Jose Vision Zero initiative, which seeks to eliminate traffic deaths.
  • The fact that vehicles remain the single greatest source of greenhouse gas emissions in San Jose.
  • Challenges inherent to meeting the transportation needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and other vulnerable populations.
  • The desire to build a balanced and equitable transportation system that is safe and convenient for walking, biking, and taking transit as well as driving.
  • Efforts to create a more livable and walkable city.
  • Residents’ privacy and security concerns.