Although in January the traditional start of the auto industry season is given by Detroit’s NAIAS, there are automakers that also target the technology industry – which kick-off their year in Las Vegas with the Consumer Electronics Show.
Dieter Zetsche, Daimler AG’s CEO, will be one of the keynote speaker at the Consumer Electronics Show in early January in Las Vegas and he’s not going there empty-handed: he’s also going to publicly unveil a Mercedes concept car fitted with all the latest technology the automaker hopes to use for its future driverless cars. Mercedes even jumped the gun and showed a few drawings of the concept’s interior – they show the autonomous model’s potential by allowing the front seats to swivel around to face the back seat, essentially taking the driver off his regular duties.
As the race towards introducing the first commercially available autonomous vehicles heats up, Mercedes-Benz – which counts on the US as one of its largest markets – has been very active in the field. The carmaker – and its Audi rival, for that matter – was among the first companies to get approval for autonomous vehicle testing in California. Axel Gern, head of autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America, says that after using public roads for autonomous testing, the company has now pretty much restricted the trials to the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) in southern California – where it has a secure location including for hazardous scenarios.