Mercedes-Benz staged a very pompous presentation for their new S500 Intelligent Drive, at the Frankfurt motor show, which as its name suggests, is able to handle its own in town, through traffic and roundabouts too, with no input from the driver. Currently in an early stage of development, it already seems to work fairly well, and according to the engineers behind it does not require a lot more technology than what the S-Class already comes with.
Still, it’s a complicated system that uses a multitude of sensors spread out around the car and a couple of different cameras, one of which has the task of reading traffic lights. In addition, it has access to GPS satellites too, and this coupled with the sensors should ensure a safe autonomous ride.
It's good to know that the company has been working on perfecting the system for very many years, and they say that twenty years ago, they already had a functioning prototype that could handle autobahn driving, including overtaking, general lane changing and maintaining a safe distance to the vehicle in front.
No release dates were brought up, but several different reports (not necessarily related to this Mercedes, but rather autonomous cars in general) have suggested the years 2020 to 2025 as being the year these self-drivers go mass market. However, since the S-Class is known for pushing technological innovation, perhaps it will be one of the first ones you will actually be able to buy.
By Andrei Nedelea