They got the license for it last September, so now they are doing it. Mercedes-Benz is testing the S-Class Intelligent Drive on the roads of California and they go public with the first images of the test.
Hours driving and wasting time in traffic jams. That is not exactly the American dream. So Mercedes-Benz took the S-Class Intelligent Drive into the Land of All Opportunities. In a not so distant future – they say – people will be able to check their emails, design important projects or just admire the surrounding scenaries behind the wheel. Actually do anything, but drive!
For Mercedes-Benz, the coming of the self-driving cars on the roads is not a question of “if” any more. It is just a question of “when”. So they are speeding up the testing to make sure everything, including the car with eight radar systems and three cameras, is going into the right direction.
In the US, streets are wider, cars are bigger, traffic lights are differently positioned, so Mercedes-Benz needs to adjust the technology to completely changed traffic conditions. As no system can function flawlessly, the Californian laws asserts that the driver can override the autonomous driving at any time, but the car can also brake independently whenever necessary.
The first ride of the S 500 Intelligent Drive took place in August 2013, when it followed the route of Bertha Benz along the way from Mannheim to Pforzheim. The S-Class based research vehicle autonomously managed to drive in complex traffic situations like jams, roundabouts, pedestrians, motorists, cyclists or trams. This happened exactly 125 years after the wife of Karl Benz, Bertha, started out with her two teenage soons, Richard and Eugen, behind the wheel of the newly built Patent Motorwagen, from Mannheim to her birthplace, Pforzheim. She became then, the first person to drive an automobile for such a long distance: about 104 kilometers. She never knew back then that she was just paving the way for what was to come.