Mercedes takes another step towards fully autonomous motoring
Mercedes may only be the world's third-largest premium car manufacturer, but it has big ambitions in the autonomous car sector. The company has recently revealed that the new E-Class saloon will have the capability to take over from the driver on some roads, which is seen as another step along the path to the fully driverless car.
There is no doubt that Mercedes is as good as any of the other top luxury car brands when it comes to technical development. The E-Class will not arrive in the showrooms in the UK until March 2016; however, the new technology on display will demonstrate how far the company has come since 1998. This was when adaptive cruise control was fitted into the S-Class and the model could automatically adjust its speed depending on the speed of the car in front.
Daimler's development chief, Thomas Weber, explains: "Innovations in this area are coming thick and fast. While we don't want to feed wrong expectations, such as sleeping in the car, autonomous driving is set to become a reality much more quickly than the public thinks."
When it comes to software for fully autonomous vehicles, no company is working harder than Mercedes. The company wants to be number one by 2020 and, although BMW and Audi obviously have other ideas, Mercedes is prepared to push the current regulations to the limit. The law currently states that the driver has to be ready to take over the controls at any time.
The E-Class will become the BMW 5-Series' primary competitor and the autonomous feature may give it the edge.