Mercedes is slowly scaling up with regard to self-driving technology. The company recently launched its updated S-Class luxury saloon which provides customers with Level 2 autonomy. This means that the vehicle can brake itself around bends and then increase its speed. The S-class can also drive itself for upto 30 seconds, but drivers still need to have their hands on the wheel.
Recently, Mercedes-Benz has been testing an E-Class with a roof mounted lidar sensor on public roads in Germany, and Level 3 autonomy seems to be the goal. A level 3 car would still need a driver but the vehicle can handle even “safety-critical functions” under certain traffic or environmental conditions. According to the company’s head of driver assistance systems, the brand’s models will offer hands-free driving for periods of time in the next three years. He said that the brand already has a head-start on its rivals with the S-Class, which represents a major advance. He added that when the company does launch Level 3 cars, possibly by the beginning of the next decade, it will be capable of managing critical situations.
The revamped S-Class, according to von Hugo does not understand variable speed limits, and “cannot guarantee 100% reliability” and this needs to be improved for Level 3. “We should become close to 100% reliable for adhering to speed limits.”
The next A-Class, is scheduled to be launched in 2018, and will be the next model to receive the systems found in the S-Class, according to Britta Seeger, Mercedes sales boss.
Von Hugo added: “We will not restrict safety tech to the luxury segment. We will not affect overall traffic safety if we just put these systems in a few cars.”
He said that while it made sense to launch the system on the S-Class as its flagship car, Mercedes “would not wait another four years [when the next S-Class is due] to bring the next evolution”.
Manju Mathew, an MBA in marketing, completed publisher training courses from the Oxford Brookes University and New York University. She started with marketing and PR roles before moving on to her current position as a full time writer. Currently living in Dubai, her life as an expat has sharpened her observation skills and flair for writing. She enjoys writing about luxury cars like Ferrari, Lamborghini, etc even if she can only dream of owning them.
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