Both Apple and Google are making significant progress on their automotive projects, and may be closer to commercial products than previously thought, according to Dieter Zetsche, the chief executive of German automaker Daimler.
Speaking to German news weekly Welt am Sonntag, Daimler revealed that he, along with a number of Daimler's senior managers, had recently travelled to Silicon Valley to see the work being done by tech companies in the automotive market, and were impressed by the progress that had been made.
"Our impression was that these companies can do more and know more than we had previously assumed," said Zetsche. "At the same time, they have more respect for our achievements than we thought.
"There were concrete talks. I will not say anything about the content. It was not just about the face 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."
Daimler itself is in the autonomous car business, having produced a S-Class Mercedes-Benz limousine which was able to drive 103km without the need for any driver input. The firm was also part of a consortium of automakers who purchased Nokia's Here mapping unit, with many industry experts predicting the technology would be put towards developing self-driving cars.