Mercedes has been demonstrating their S-Class Intelligent Drive’s ability to autonomously drive itself by retracing a pioneering drive by Bertha Benz.
Whether we like it or not, autonomous cars – those that can drive themselves – are coming, so we may as well embrace the benefits rather than complain about computers taking away the joy of the drive.
That’s Mercedes take on the S-Class Intelligent Drive setup they’ve been showcasing in Germany this week that’s retraced a route taken by Bertha Benz – wife of Carl Benz – 125 years ago as she set out to prove hubbies new invention – the motor car – was fit for purpose by driving the 60 or so miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim.
Tines have changed a bit, so instead of encountering animals, farmers and carts, Mercedes had to take the self-driving S-Class through the usual driving challenge of traffic jams, pedestrian crossings and all the grief of the modern urban landscape, but the S-Class Intelligent Drive managed the route with just the odd intervention from the technician behind the wheel.
Using the same cameras and sensors the S-Class already uses, Mercedes technicians programmed the system with its route using digital 3D maps from Nokia and relying on input from the sensors to ‘see’ obstacles when they arise.
Mercedes concede the self-driving car is a few years from being ready for the mass market, but they aim to have an autonomous driving system in production by 2020, always assuming the necessary changes to the law can be implemented.
So within the decade you’ll be able to watch a film when driving to your holiday destination, get on with work on the way to a meeting and switch the auto-drive off only when a tasty bit of road beckons.
Which seems quite appealing to us.