Mercedes-Benz on the way to autonomous and accident-free driving.
The revolution has begun.
If you drive a Mercedes-Benz vehicle, you appreciate its comfort, safety and dynamism. And yet day after day we are often stuck in congested traffic. Commuters spend an average of around 100 hours per year just in the evening rush hour. Time that can hardly ever be used effectively. The same applies to the stop-and-go traffic we have to get through at the beginning of the holidays. And maybe there are other times too when we would just like to do something else other than drive a vehicle. But in the foreseeable future we will not have to spend time at the wheel any more if we do not really want to: that tedious stop-and-go traffic after work will become a relaxed and safe beginning of the evening and long motorway journeys to our holiday destination will become part of the enjoyment. Mercedes-Benz has now initiated the “autonomous driving” revolution.
Regaining personal time.
The vehicle becomes a comfortable travelling lounge, a mobile office or simply a digital experience. Waiting times and fuel will be saved, and in future the “digital companion” will search for a parking space independently. “The time we spend in our cars will take on a completely new quality”, says Professor Herbert Kohler, Head of Corporate Research & Sustainability and Chief Environmental Officer for Daimler AG. But above all: driving will be more efficient and safer. Is that just a dream for the future? Quite the opposite! Today, Mercedes-Benz vehicles have technologies on board that provide their drivers with unobtrusive but useful help in unpleasant and particularly dangerous situations.
The decisive first step.
The automobile assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz are important parts of a comprehensive safety strategy and make a considerable contribution to occupant comfort. For example, COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST Plus, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist or the PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection show just how far autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz has advanced. With them, the vehicle becomes a reliable partner that can think for itself: that can see, feel and react in the event of danger.
For Mercedes-Benz, assisted driving is an everyday event. The first decisive step in the four-stage development towards automated driving was taken long ago.
Four steps towards fully automated driving.
Currently, the second step is under way: in this, the vehicle already masters many driving situations independently – so-called semi-automated driving. The driver still has to concentrate on the traffic and bears the responsibility. In the following two steps – highly automated and fully automated driving – it will appear revolutionary: comfort, and with it the opportunity of “dealing with” other things at the same time, will be at the forefront. With highly automated driving, the system will monitor the limits of its functions and pass the responsibility on to the driver when they are reached. Finally, fully automated driving will allow the driver to do whatever he or she feels like doing: for example, play with the children or have a little snooze.
Even driving without a driver at all is planned. The vehicle will search for a nearby parking space independently, for example, and pick the driver up at the desired location.
Tomorrow’s driving visions today.
“In a few years, cars will move completely freely. Passengers could then sit with their backs to the steering wheel while the car does the steering”. This is the vision of Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Mercedes-Benz recently demonstrated just how close the future is, with impressive results. The near-standard Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE mastered the roughly 100-kilometre-long route from Mannheim to Pforzheim almost independently. This is the route which Bertha Benz drove in 1888 as the very first automobile journey in history – and one which is very tricky because of narrow sections through towns and villages, and around roundabouts. And the F 015 Luxury in Motion research vehicle not only has the intelligence to find its own way in traffic. It also boasts a roomy, comfortable interior to finally make the vehicle a mobile living space. Presumably, in only ten or twenty years time, Mercedes-Benz drivers will think about what favourite activities they want to pursue on their journey. But one thing is sure: driving a Mercedes-Benz oneself will certainly be on the list.