Mercedes Brings us Closer to the Self Driving Car

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Self-driving cars aren’t a new concept by any stretch of the imagination. We’ve all seen the concept in science fiction books, and even in the retro futurism art suggesting that the automobiles of the future would be equipped with rockets, among other things. The future is definitely an interesting place, but it is nothing like we imagined. That being said, self-driving cars are finally beginning to emerge, and as we all know, Google has managed to pioneer the field.

The thing about Google cars, however, is that you can tell they’re self-driven, especially if you look at the roof. In addition to that, they’re loaded with all kinds of equipment that discern them from other cars on the road, and this is without a doubt very helpful to other drivers. Now moving on to today, Mercedes is introducing a new E-Class standard which is not only a self-driving car, it’s one that will be very hard for the average driver to spot on the road.

A License to Test

In Nevada, regulators have given Mercedes-Benz license to test their autonomous cars on the road, and they’ve chosen to do so with the E-Class standard production cars. Those on the road will of course be glad to know that Mercedes cannot simply deploy an autonomous car on the streets and call it a day. In fact there are several modifications that need to be made to the E-Class in order to ensure that it actually meets the standards, and human drivers are still permitted for certain actions including:

  • Turning
  • Merging
  • Departing

Technically a machine could do all of these things, but we’ll get to that in the moment. For now you’ll be glad to know that these test vehicles will be identified by a red license plate and that these vehicles will be held to stricter standards then their manual counterparts.

Concerns about Self-Driving Vehicles

Naturally there are concerns regarding these types of vehicles, some of which are more obvious than others. First of all, automated cars work well – they follow all traffic laws and are capable of sensing the flow of traffic. The problem? Regular drivers never follow traffic laws, period. Even if you are the most careful driver on the road, you will still make mistakes, and cars cannot compensate for human error no matter how much they try. That being the case, automobiles like these will always have their limitations, and until every single car on the road is automated, those problems are going to persist. Still, it could very well lead to an interesting future.

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