Mercedes-Benz will be rolling out a completely new generation of the S-Class in 2020 and the company has now confirmed its flagship will be able of Level 3 autonomous driving.
Mercedes-Benz ‘current generation of its flagship was launched on the market in 2013 and, like its predecessor, appears to have enjoyed a career of around seven years. As usual with a generational change, the new S-Class will grow a bit, while the unladen mass will instead be lower.
A new flagship can only of course debut alongside a plethora of next-gen gadgets and according to Ola Kaellenius, currently head of Mercedes’ development department and from next year the successor of the famed moustached CEO Dieter Zetsche, that top-of-the-line sedan will be able to drive autonomously at Level 3: “We are on the verge of jumping to Level 3, which is our target for the next S-Class.”
Autonomous driving on Level 3 (Tesla Auto Pilot is Level 2, e.g.) means “conditional automation”: the driver no longer needs to be fully alert while driving, but should still be ready to take control of the vehicle in certain cases when alerted to so – in theory you can just watch a movie or update your e-mail. The Audi A8 is currently already capable of Level 3 semi-autonomous driving. At Level 2, the driver must remain engaged with the driving task and monitor the environment at all times.
Those who prefer to steer themselves the car do not have to worry. Kaellenius says that the autonomous package will be optional. In the years after the launch of the new S-Class, the new technology will undoubtedly filter down the range to models like the C-Class and the E-Class.
Via Automotive News Europe