Daimler chairman Dieter Zetsche has told Welt am Sonntag, a German weekly magazine, that he was surprised by how proficient Google and Apple are when it comes to cars, areas that both companies are reportedly interested in.
“Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed,” he said, according to Reuters. “At the same time they have more respect for our achievements than we thought.”
Executives at Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz, met with around 70 companies in Silicon Valley, according to Zetsche, who did not name them.
Mercedes-Benz recently developed a version of the S-Class, the high-end luxury model, that travelled over 100 kilometers (60 miles) without any driver assistance. According to The Telegraph, the car was used to carry Zetsche onstage at the Frankfurt Motor Show.
“There were concrete talks [but] I will not say anything about the content,” said Zetsche. “It was not just about the fact that there is an innovative spirit in the Valley. We know that already. We wanted to see what drives it, and all the things that can be created from it.”
Both and Apple and Google are working on cars, according to reports. Google, which is focused on self-driving, has driven its autonomous vehicles thousands of miles over the past years, with very few crashes. Apple is rumoured to be investigating entering the car market with a project codenamed “Titan.”
Google’s self-driving car boss, Peter Krafcik, recently told a group of industry executives that the company was seeking “help” for the “next stage” of the project.