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Daimler CEO confirms self-driving car progress

Apple and Google have recently made more progress on technologies on automotive projects, according to Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche’s statement to German weekly Welt am Sonntag, following a recent trip to Silicon Valley.

In 2012, Google first started testing its own prototype vehicle. Rumours have also been spreading for a while that Apple is now working on a self-driving car of its own.

Apart from the two giants, a number of car makers and firms in the US tech capital are working on developing a self-driving car. Zetsche and Daimler’s senior managers met with around 70 companies in Silicon Valley.

"Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed. At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought," Zetsch said.

Zetsch confirmed that there were concrete talks among the companies, including those with startup firms. “We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it," he added.

Daimler's Mercedes-Benz also developed an S-Class self-driving limousine in 2012, which completed a 103-kilometre journey.

Zetsche said he expects a 1 to 1.5 per cent market growth for passenger cars in 2016, with US driving this significant growth.

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