Mercedes-Benz Brings the Dream of Self-Driving Cars Closer than Ever

November 26th, 2016 by

Mercedes-Benz

For most of us, commute time is lost time. It’s also stress-time: slow traffic, combined with the erratic decisions of the road’s other inhabitants, can quickly sap the fun out of even the best of cars.

Someday, self-driving cars will change all that, allowing you to literally (and safely) turn away from the steering wheel, stretch out your legs, pick up a book or get some work done. Our concept car, the F 015, is already here, but is not yet for sale. In the meantime, semi-automated E-Class cars make driving a great deal easier while cradling drivers and passengers alike in a host of safety features.

Meet the 2017 E-Class Car

It’s important to understand the 2017 E-Class vehicles are not “self-driving cars.” However, you can automate some of your tasks, like lane changes. A host of automated sensors do the work of figuring out when it’s time to switch, eliminating the need to check mirrors and blind spots.

Its sensors can determine what’s around corners, which means you’re unlikely to be surprised by a sudden cyclist popping out of nowhere, and you’ll have the option to navigate around nasty traffic conditions before you end up in a line of traffic you can’t get away from.

The E-class is also provides up to 60 seconds of short-term correction for distracted or drowsy drivers. It reacts when it senses you’ve made a mistake.  You can think of it as a sort of proto-self driver; a car which hints at what will be possible tomorrow while keeping you safer and happier with the technology that’s available today.

As one Wired driver puts it, the E-Class allows for a singular and enviable experience: “Traffic spawned stress vanishes faster than water evaporating under the California sun.”

One more thing about the E-class: additional safety features which have nothing at all to do with automation assure that if you do get into a wreck you’re far more likely to survive it.

What about the F 015?

To see the Mercedes-Benz F 015 self-driving concept car is to sigh wistfully for a space-age future. The car looks like something out of a sleek Sci-Fi novel. Inside, you’ll find a mobile office and lounge space where you can catch up with friends or answer e-mail while the car guides you to its next destination.

6 touch and gesture-sensitive screens let you program a destination, adjust the music volume, and make calls. Mobile controls can summon the car to come get you and your passengers—a nice feature for rainy days.

The F 015 doesn’t just drive. It communicates with pedestrians too. For example, if it senses a pedestrian wants to walk in front of the car it will stop, tell the pedestrian to pass, and create a laser-guided crosswalk. This feature might just make the F 015 the one car pedestrians will be happy to see on the road, at least until competitors copy the feature.

This video will let you view every inch of the F 015 in all its glory. You’ll also get to enjoy listening to a bunch of engineers go full on geek over the potential of the car they’ve designed.

When will a full, self-driving model be available?

Fortunately, the future is close. Mercedes-Benz estimates this superior self-driving model could be on the road as early as 2030. However, the race for the self-driving car is on. We wouldn’t be surprised to see them rolling to our dealership lots much earlier, as we already know designers and engineers are hard at work perfecting the systems and making them as safe as humanly possible.

In the meantime, if you’re interested in this sort of technology the E-class cars are a good bet. They’ll help you make the transition between conventional cars and autonomous cars, teaching you what it feels like to sit in a driver’s seat as an artificial intelligence takes the wheel. After all, you won’t have nearly as much fun with the F 015’s eventual debut if you’re periodically stomping on the floor (or the brakes) in a panic, all because you haven’t learned to trust a computer’s decision-making process yet.

Want to give it a try? Stop in for a test drive today.

Sources:

https://www.wired.com/2016/06/mercedess-new-e-class-kinda-drives-kinda-confusing/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IWB4xj7EILg

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