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As one of the world’s primary car manufacturers for pioneering new automotive technologies, Mercedes-Benz has continued to showcase its talents with a 60 mile trip using driverless technology for the whole duration of the journey.
Utilising its new S500 Intelligent Drive concept car, Mercedes had the model drive one of the most famous routes in motoring history – re-enacting the journey Bertha Benz took in 1888 from Mannheim to Pforzheim – albeit with no human interactions to speak of.
Mercedes already offer partially-automated technology on the E-Class and current S-Class models, with this new innovative equipment an extension of that. It operates through the use of vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, which in the future could remove the need for traffic lights and stop signs if and when all cars on the road are driverless.
“Developed on the basis of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the S 500 Intelligent Drive research vehicle autonomously covered the approximately 100 kilometres between Mannheim and Pforzheim,” Mercedes wrote in a statement.
“Yet, unlike Bertha Benz all those years ago, it did not have the road ‘all to itself’, but had to negotiate dense traffic and complex traffic situations.”
Mercedes continued: “The new Distronic Plus with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot is capable of steering the vehicle mainly autonomously through traffic jams. This system thus forms the core of Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive, the intelligent networking of all safety and comfort systems.”
During the journey, Mercedes insist that only the sensor technologies that are already in use in today’s cars were implemented. The car drives itself by utilising the sensor data and determination of the vehicle’s own position in reference to information from a digital map to analyse the available space around it and plans its own route.
Don’t expect to see such technology rolled out anytime soon, but the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) believe that cars such as these will be commonplace by 2040 and amount to around 75 per cent of the cars on the road.
Toyota and Ford have are among other manufacturers that have displayed encouragement towards such technology, but Mercedes look to have set the bar for now.
Watch the video below for more information on the 60 mile journey, and you can also take a look at Inchcape Mercedes if you’re interested in the new Mercedes S-Class or any other of the German firm’s other models.