Germany’s Daimler AG announced this week that, during the month of August, they had tested out a specially engineered driverless Mercedes S-Class sedan on a historic route in Germany. This mini road trip saw the autonomous vehicle travel the 64-mile route that Carl Benz’s wife Bertha took to mark the first long-distance auto trip back in 1888. Just this time the Manheim to Pforzheim trip was done without the help of a human.
Daimler is claiming that the modified S-Class is using “near-production” technology, and the biggest obstacle they face in making it a reality for consumers is the regulations against self-driving cars throughout the world. How Daimler is accomplishing this feat is somewhat different from what other car manufacturers, along with Google, have recently shown.
The Wall Street Journal provided an inside look into how the car could drive without any human intervention and explained that it is done with a “color camera mounted behind the windshield that could read stoplights, additional long-range radars to detect oncoming vehicles, a stereo camera to function like human eyes to detect distant objects, and a rear-facing camera designed to detect landmarks entered into a digital map.”
Before you think Daimler is just jumping on the bandwagon and following the recent trend of driverless cars, executives at the company claim that this technology has been in the works for close to 30 years. That is long before many companies even thought of investigating the technology, and years before Google even existed.
While the technology may be catching up to dream of sitting back while your car gets you to where you need to be, it’s going to take some time for the regulators to make any changes. It is still a new technology and there are definite safety concerns to look at. However, last month Nissan promised that they would offer an autonomous vehicle for consumers by the year 2020, which is only 7 years away. So maybe it won’t be as long of a wait as you think.
Sources: Wall Street Journal
Photo: Daimler AG