Mercedes and Google join forces to develop supercomputers for cars

SUNNYVALE, California: In an announcement at a software update day in Sunnyvale, California this week, Mercedes-Benz said it will work jointly with Google on navigation and offer "super computer-like performance" in every car with automated driving sensors.

The announcement is in response to increasing competition by Tesla and new Chinese rivals in the race to match software-powered features which enable vehicle performance, battery range and self-driving capabilities to be updated from a distance.

Chief Executive Ola Kaellenius said the German carmaker agreed to share revenue with semiconductor maker Nvidia Corp, its partner on automated driving software since 2020, to reduce the cost of buying expensive high-powered semiconductors.

"You only pay for a heavily subsidized chip, and then figure out how to maximize joint revenue," he said, as quoted by Reuters.

"But only customers paying for an extra option package would have cars equipped with Lidar sensor technology and other hardware for automated ‘Level 3’ driving, which have a higher variable cost," he added.

Also this week, self-driving sensor maker Luminar Technologies said it agreed to participate in a multi-billion dollar deal with Mercedes, which owns a small stake in the company, to integrate its sensors across a broad range of its vehicles by the middle of the decade.

Mercedes said the collaboration with Google will enable it to offer traffic information and automatic rerouting in its cars.

Other carmakers, including General Motors, Renault, Nissan and Ford, have integrated various Google services into their vehicles, such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and other applications.