Back in January, Daimler and ride-hailing giant Uber Technologies announced a deal to cooperate on the creation of self-driving vehicles for use in Uber’s service. That might have been the impetus for the deal with Bosch. It’s possible that Daimler looked at Uber’s desired timeline, looked at the state of its own self-driving effort — and decided to team up with Bosch, long a key Daimler supplier, to get things moving more quickly.
What’s interesting is that Uber has its own autonomous-vehicle research program, built around experts recruited from Carnegie Mellon University’s robotics program. Uber itself has plenty of self-driving software expertise, at least in theory.