Mercedes Benz hasn’t given up on self-driving just yet

The Head of Digital Transformation at Daimler AG is firing back after reports yesterday that Mercedes Benz has given up on its efforts to achieve self-driving.

The story that started it all was first published on the German news website RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND). Quoting an alleged Mercedes Benz spokesperson, the article claimed the German automaker was no longer competing in the race for autonomy as they saw no clear path to victory.

“We don’t compete in any race that we can no longer win,” the spokesperson was quoted as saying.

Another driving factor behind the alleged decision was Mercedes Benz’s bottom line, which the spokeperson said was of utmost importance to the company, and shareholders.

“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 story, which was covered by our friends at Teslarati, drew the attention of Sascha Pallenberg, the Head of Digital Transformation at Daimler AG. In a series of tweets Monday afternoon, Pallenberg said the story was completely “bogus”.

To support his debunking of the story, Pallenberg listed several recent moves by the automaker to advance their ambitions for autonomy. These included the recent announcement of automated valet parking services at Stuttgart Airport, and their partnership with NVIDIA announced earlier this summer.

Before the company achieves full autonomy, it has plans to electrify its lineup of vehicles. By 2030, Mercedes Benz says more than 50% of their global sales will be electric, while at the same time reducing the number of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles available for purchase by as much as 70%.

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