OK, so these cars are quite literally going to drive themselves? Wow. This driverless thing is beyond ridiculous, and I would hardly call it ‘progress’.
Probably the scariest thing about this technology is that people who shouldn’t even have licenses will use it to drive, put on makeup, consume Big Macs, and on and on. And what about when it fails, as all technology can do?
Vehicle manufacturer Mercedes-Benz has revealed the progress that it has made with its driverless technology by taking its S500 Intelligent Drive concept car on a 100km trip in the South of Germany.
The luxury car firm set out to re-enact the journey made by Bertha Benz, the wife of the firm’s founder Karl Benz, in 1888 to demonstrate the suitability of the Benz patent motor car for everyday use. 125 years later, Mercedes-Benz has set out to prove a similar point using driverless technology.
“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,” the firm 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.”
Driverless cars operate through use of communicating sensors to ensure safe and efficient travel. Through vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication there may be no need for traffic lights and stop signs when all of the cars on the road are driverless. Mercedes-Benz said that its driverless technology is an extension to its partially-automated technology, which is already available to Mercedes-Benz E-Class and S-Class drivers.
“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,” the firm added.
Mercedes-Benz said that its test vehicles employed only the sensor technologies that are already today used in similar form in its standard-production vehicles. Based on these sensor data and determination of the vehicle’s own position with reference to information from a digital map, an autonomously driving vehicle analyses the available free area for driving and plans its own route.
Expectations for driverless cars to take to the roads in the coming years are high; according the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), by the year 2040, driverless cars operated using M2M technology will account for up to 75 per cent of cars on the road worldwide.
Uh-huh. So my 90 year old grandma, still entirely within her facilities to drive, by the way, won’t be totally freaked out by this? The lady that learned to drive in a ’54 Studebaker? The same lady who is afraid of her iPhone, and has yet to unwrap the iPad mini I got her for Mother’s Day in 2013? Riiight. This will scare the pants right off the older folks who have saved their money and can afford such luxury. Well, there always the lovely elitist few living 500k plus in debt left to buy these cars. Good luck with that. And don’t forget the government sanctioned tracking chip, too.
Mercedes-Benz is showcasing its self-driving sedan, the F015 Luxury in Motion, a research vehicle that envisions what high-end cars might look like when people don’t have to drive them.
Written by Katie McGuire. Follow Katie on Twitter @GOPKatie
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