Mercedes-Benz is publicly stating it would like to have a self-driving, autonomous car produced this decade. Building on the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive suite of advanced safety technologies that include semi-autonomous driving capability, the automaker is hoping to develop a fully autonomous driving vehicle.
At the launch of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, Mercedes engineers indicated that the technology wasn’t the issue, but rather legislation that would hold autonomous driving from reaching its full potential. In the meantime, the automaker is continuing to develop its technology, which many automakers such as Nissan, Toyota, and tech giant Google have done. Other automakers have also already displayed small facets of the technology, such as Audi, and Volvo’s self-park demonstrations. It appears Mercedes will look to produce the car much sooner than the timeline we first heard at the CES Consumer Electronics Show in 2012.
In our road test of the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S550, we tinkered with some of these systems currently available on the S-Class, as well as the 2014 E-Class. Using sensors, radar, and radio cameras, these cars are already capable of keeping the vehicle in its lane, braking and accelerating as needed, and maintaining a set distance. Both models are capable of braking in the event of an impending accident to help reduce the impact of the collision, and in some cases prevent the accident or injury altogether. The catch? The systems are meant to act as a safety aid, and the autonomous driving features currently work for up to 10 seconds at a time, before the driver must resume control.
Mercedes recently completed a test run of about 62 miles (100 km) using its self-driving technology. The route was the one Bertha Benz, the wife of Mercedes-Benz founder Carl Benz, first drove 100 years ago, and was the first over land drive. To learn more about this technology and Mercedes-Benz’s test, you can watch the video below.