Mercedes is many things - the inventor of the car, the best Formula One team, and still the most revered car brand in the world. Increasingly, it is also becoming a solid player in the self-driving space - that being said the one area it is unlikely to catch up with the competition is self-driving cars. Teslarati recently published an article which claimed that the German giant has reportedly thrown in the towel for autonomous technology, but now Daimler has come out and issued a clarification.
"We don't compete in any race that we can no longer win," said a Mercedes spokesman recently as reported by Teslarati. This perhaps doesn't mean that Mercedes is throwing in the towel on the technology, but perhaps means a realignment of its goals which may focus more towards electrification something that's existential.
This was clarified by Sascha Pallenberg on Twitter who is the head of digital transformation at Daimler. "So obviously you didn't even read the Teslarati article? This is their source and yes, it's not true!," he tweeted.
Famously, a couple of years ago the company unveiled the F-015 concept but that has disappeared. In fact, more recently, it cemented a partnership with Nvidia for semiconductors for its autonomous cars and also revealed some interesting capabilities in the new S-Class sedan. Along with this, it has partnered with the airport in Stuttgart for a valet service using the self-driving features in the new S-Class.
But clearly, the indication is to scale back the investment in the technology as it may never catch up to Waymo or even Tesla for that matter. Waymo has already deployed the world's first autonomous ride-sharing service, while Tesla has unveiled full self-driving capabilities. Even GM's Cruise is starting driverless self-driving rides in California.
Mercedes also doesn't have ambitions to enter the ride-sharing market which is being viewed as one of the tentpole models for making autonomous cars financially viable. "The conversion to a mobility provider is a thing of the past. We will move away from it again. You can't make money with offers like car sharing. Our investors not only expect sales but also above all profit," the spokesman said.
That being said with self-driving being a core technology, it is quite clear that Daimler with continue pursue the technology but for the purpose of its luxury cars.
update: Story has been updated with Sascha Pallenberg's comments on twitter.