A car that is both intelligent and safe, that navigates traffic entirely independently: this is the vision of autonomous driving. But what is actually already possible with our current technological capabilities? A team put together by Mercedes-Benz tackled this question across five stages, each on a separate continent. The team was on the move from September 2017 to January of this year, and when team leader Jochen Haab talks about Intelligent World Drive today, he can barely contain his excitement. With its assistance systems the series-produced S-Class was capable of a level of automated driving that Haab and his colleagues were amazed by. But they know there is still much work to be done. In the years ahead, developers will have to answer myriad complex questions.
“The idea was to show that we could put the car into typical situations and gather experience,” says Haab. “We can then use the information obtained from doing that to improve our systems.” Their journey began in Frankfurt, at the IAA, and took them to the United States by way of Shanghai, Australia and South Africa. Jochen Haab describes the challenges that the S-Class encountered.