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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Mercedes-Benz is designing a self driving car

The new 2014 S-class interior during tests in Germany

Google has been working on the technology for a driverless car for a number of years now. Google’s Sebastian Thrun, director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory and his team created the robotic vehicle Stanley which won the 2005 DARPA Grand Challenge and its $2 million prize from the United States Department of Defense.

Google has had good results in testing and even convinced the State of Nevada to license a Toyota Prius modified with Google's experimental driverless technology. But Google seems only interested in designing and marketing the technology to auto makers not developing the actual car.

The new 2014 E-class coupe

Now Mercedes-Benz has announced the introduction of Intelligent Drive – an array of convenience and safety technology that will be available on a number of 2013 and 2014 models, including not only the new S-class and E-class cars, but also the new entry-level CLA car.

Intelligent Drive will include automatic lane centering, driver alertness monitoring and collision prevention among its 36 separate technologies. The car will use a number of cameras, ultrasound sensors and different types of radar to feed information to the system’s software.

“We’re 70 to 80% of the way to autonomous driving”, Bart Herring, Mercedes’ top US planner told Automotive News. The hardest remaining part, he said, is road infrastructure.

Great. Hopefully the new self-driving Benzes will signal their turns and lane changes, because most of the arrogant S-class and GL-class drivers can’t be bothered.


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