Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance Systems: Milestones: On the Way to Autonomous Driving

Sindelfingen, May 2, 2017 – “It has always been clear to Mercedes-Benz, as the inventor of the automobile, that the next major revolution in mobility will be the self-driving car,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of Daimler AG and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Cars.”People have been dreaming of self-driving cars since the 1950s. We at Mercedes-Benz were the ones who once turned the vision of mobility without a horse into reality. Now it’s time for us to offer the possibility of managing without a driver as well.” The major milestones in recent years:

May 2013: The new S-Class relieves driver workload thanks to DISTRONIC PLUS with lane guidance, and is also able to follow vehicles automatically.

August 2013: With the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle on a historic route, Mercedes-Benz is the first automobile manufacturer in the world to show that autonomous driving is also possible in inner-city and urban traffic. The route in question, covering the 100 kilometers or so from Mannheim to Pforzheim, retraced that taken by Bertha Benz when she boldly set off on the very first long-distance drive in 1888.

July 2014: With the Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025, Daimler Trucks undertakes the world’s very first autonomous truck journey on a closed-off section of the A14 autobahn near Magdeburg. The truck is equipped with the Highway Pilot assistance system, and is able to drive completely autonomously at motorway speeds of up to 85 km/h. The Highway Pilot features a frontal radar and a stereo camera, as well as well-proven assistance systems such as Adaptive Cruise Control +.

September 2014: Mercedes-Benz is among the first automobile manufacturers permitted to test autonomously driving cars on the public roads of California.

January 2015: With the autonomously driving luxury sedan F 015 Luxury in Motion, Mercedes-Benz demonstrates at the CES show in Las Vegas how the car is being transformed into a private place of retreat. One key aspect of the research vehicle is the continuous exchange of information between vehicle, passengers and the outside world. Using laser projection and LED displays, the F 015 Luxury in Motion also makes contact with its surroundings to become a social partner in traffic.

May 2015: The Freightliner Inspiration Truck with the Highway Pilot system is the world’s first autonomously driving truck with road approval. The US state of Nevada certifies two Freightliner Inspiration trucks for regular test operations on public roads.

September 2015: Daimler organizes the symposium “Autonomous driving in the light of legislation and ethics” More than 100 specialists from industry, science, politics and the media discuss the new challenges.

October 2015: Daimler Trucks presents the first autonomously driving production truck permitted on public roads in Germany. The Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot system made its maiden journey on the A8 autobahn between Denkendorf and Stuttgart. It has since received approval to drive on all German motorways for test purposes.

October 2015: The design show car Mercedes-Benz Vision Tokyo makes efficient use of space, and is flexibly configurable and intelligently networked. The classic seating arrangement in rows is no more, as the occupants are seated on a large, oval couch. This unique lounge-style arrangement allows everyone on board to enjoy the benefits of autonomous driving.

January 2016: The new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is the world’s first standard-production vehicle to be awarded a test license for autonomous driving in the US state of Nevada. Self-driving tests are permitted on interstates and state highways in Nevada, human drivers being required only for turning and when entering and exiting roads. The autonomous test drives in everyday traffic are carried out by specially trained test drivers.

January 2016: Daimler AG founds the Tech Center a-drive, transforming the existing, close cooperation with the University of Ulm, the research center for computer science (FZI) and the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe (KIT) into a strategic partnership. One purpose of the Tech Center a-drive is to accelerate research into robust sensors and reliable autonomous decision making.

April 2016: The new E-Class sedan arrives in showrooms (June in the U.S.). With numerous innovative assistance systems such as Active Lane Change Assist, the world’s most intelligent sedan marks the next step on the way to autonomous driving.

April 2016: Three automated and interconnected Mercedes-Benz Actros trucks drive from Stuttgart to Rotterdam as a cross-border “platoon.” Together with five other European commercial vehicle manufacturers, Daimler Trucks takes part in the “European Truck Platooning Challenge 2016” rally organized by the Dutch government. The Mercedes-Benz trucks are networked by WLAN to form an automated 3-vehicle platoon, using Highway Pilot Connect.

July 2016: On an approximately 20 km-long (12 mi) route in Amsterdam, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot completes its first automated journey in urban traffic. The bus drives at up to 70 km/h (43 mph) on a section of Europe’s longest Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, stops with inch-perfect accuracy at bus-stops and traffic lights, moves off automatically, passes through tunnels, brakes for obstacles and pedestrians in the road and communicates with signaling systems. The driver is on board and monitors the system, but his workload is considerably reduced. Daimler Buses is the world’s first manufacturer to operate an automated city bus in day-to-day traffic.

December 2016: Stuttgart regional council grants Mercedes-Benz permission to test the next generation of autonomous vehicles on public roads. The current development focus for the new test car fleet is the autonomous car that comes to the user conveniently by app – without a driver. The aim of the autonomous test car fleet based on Mercedes-Benz V-Class vehicles is to carry out in-depth testing of the latest sensor generation and the DAVOS operating system (Daimler Autonomous Vehicle Operating System) in real-life traffic. New onboard features include LiDAR sensors plus deep learning technologies and graphics processors (GPUs), which have previously been scarcely used in the automobile sector.

January 2017: Daimler and Uber declare their intention to cooperate in the provision and operation of self-driving vehicles. In the coming years, as part of this cooperation, Daimler plans to offer autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz cars on the global platform of Uber.

March 2017: With numerous improved and new assistance systems, the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class marks the next level of automotive development.

SOURCE: Mercedes-Benz