Mercedes kicked off the first autonomous driving world test drive. A prototype based on the current S-Class will cover all five continents in five months.
Between now and January 2018, this S‑Class, which has been automated for test purposes, will face a variety of complex traffic situations. In the process, it will gather valuable experience on the road to autonomous driving. After the launch in Germany the next test drive will take Place in China followed by others in Australia in November and South Africa in December. The final stop of the tour will be the CES in Las Vegas in January.
The purpose of the “Intelligent World Drive” is to collect information on what happens under real traffic conditions around the world, so that future automated and autonomous driving functions can be brought into line with country-specific user/traffic habits.
“Recording, processing and interpreting highly complex traffic situations is the key to safe automated and autonomous driving. This is particularly demanding in dense urban traffic. This is why we are deliberately testing our automated driving functions in everyday driving situations in large cities”, says Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “In this way not only do our vehicles become more intelligent, they also become safer.”
In addition, the Stuttgart-based automotive company is an advocate of an internationally harmonised legal framework for automated and autonomous driving. There is a need for action especially in relation to international agreements on road traffic law, which set the binding framework for national legislation and which currently still compulsorily require a driver. Further changes are also important with regard to vehicle certification as well as data storage.
“Progress must not stop at national borders. Legislation must keep pace with technological development. Otherwise it will not be possible for important innovations in automated and autonomous driving to hit the road,” says Renata Jungo Brüngger, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Integrity and Legal Affairs. “Legal certainty is essential for the acceptance of autonomous driving in society. So we quickly need further international harmonisation of the legal framework.”
Autonomous driving is one of the four strategic areas for the future which form an integral part of the corporate strategy of Daimler AG under the acronym CASE. CASE – these letters are shaping the future of mobility. They stand for Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric. The aim is to provide intuitive mobility for customers by intelligently intermeshing all four CASE areas.