Mercedes-Benz’s next-generation, W213 E-Class will come with autonomous driving technology, for use at highway speeds.
While it remains to be seen whether actually using the system will indeed be legal or not, according to an Automotive News report the E-Class will be capable of piloting itself up to speeds of 130km/h.
The system uses a complex array of motion sensors, radars and cameras to scan the road ahead, and requires the driver’s hands to be placed on the wheel at all times – so there’s no pouring Martini’s and showing off. If a driver does remove his hands, a light illuminates and an alert sounds, and ultimately the system will disengage and force the driver to once again take the helm.
Autonomous Mercedes vehicles have been spotted on public streets as far as San Francisco, with the F150 prototype catching the public’s gaze. It has also been in tough competition with its fellow German rival, Audi, for the most comprehensive autonomous technology. Audi has in the past raced an autonomous RS 7 around the Hokkenheim Ring. Thomas Weber, who is Daimler’s head of development, had the following to say:
“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.”
Mercedes has admitted that there are a lot of legislative hurdles to conquer before its system can be operational world-wide. Germany, on the other hand, sits on the other side of the fence having since amended road legislature to accommodate autonomous vehicles technology.
The new E-Class is scheduled to arrive during the first half of 2016.