Joining the autonomous driving pack of 2020, Mercedes-Benz will launch cars that can fully drive themselves – though this technology will not have a special version for that purpose. It looks like the Germans will offer a package that will optionally equip the standard line-up.
Looking to incorporate the autonomous driving technology into its full lineup, Mercedes-Benz will most likely start with the usual setup, equipping the next generation S Class with it.
“Our approach is, let’s not do it with a special car with a lot of antennas, let’s do it with a standard car,” said Thomas Weber, head of product engineering for Mercedes-Benz cars.
They already have the new generation S Class fitted as an experimental car – the culmination of twenty years of research and development – and it recently completed a trip of around 60 miles in full autonomous control. An engineer was on board, with no control input, as it went into traffic on highways and joined busy city streets.
The route from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany, followed a trip made by Bertha Benz, wife of Mercedes-Benz founder Carl Benz, back in 1888, driving a Benz Patent-Motorwagen, the very first motorcar. In those day, she took a valiant decision to do the journey, thus proving her husband’s viable technology, just like it’s happening now to the S500 Intelligent Drive with autonomous control.
“We have the first autonomous driving function available for our customers in the new S-Class: Stop & Go Pilot,” Weber says.
Mercedes decided to install onboard the self-driving S500 Intelligent Drive experimental car just production available cameras and sensors in order to demonstrate the technology can be readily used and it’s not just sci-fi material.