Mercedes-Benz Leading the Race to the Self-Driving Car
For generations, people have dreamed of a self-driving car, and while we may still be a few years away from it actually occurring, there have been incredible leaps and innovations leading in that direction. If you ask any automobile expert, they are likely to tell you that Mercedes-Benz is leading the race to this self-driving car.
Most experts agree that instead of the self-driving car suddenly appearing on the market one day, it will be a slow process; one that has been in progress for decades. Experts will tell you that small advances we now take for granted, like power steering, cruise control, and antilock brakes, are all steps toward the futuristic car that doesn’t require a driver.
Mercedes-Benz in the Lead
While most cars on the market today have such features as cruise control and power steering, Mercedes-Benz is a leader in developing and offering other technologies that will take us closer to the self-driving car. Some people are turning to Google Inc. for further innovation, but the company is hesitant to share its works-in-progress until it has produced a car that is fully self-driving. This means that Mercedes-Benz is the automaker who has come the farthest in terms of producing features that take some of the stress away from the driver. Unlike Google Inc.’s prototype in progress, Mercedes-Benz has already had various features on the market for years.
The easiest way to see the innovation of Mercedes-Benz and the steps it has taken toward a vehicle that drives by itself is to look at the S-Class. Between the cruise control and traffic jam assist functions, the sedans in this class will already take control of pedals and wheels when necessary. We are still a long way away, however, from a car that doesn’t require any driver input. In the meantime, though, Mercedes-Benz has given us plenty of features that take us one step closer to this ultimate goal.
PRESAFE® and Other Safety Features
PRESAFE® is one of the innovative advances from Mercedes-Benz that we are likely to find in a self-driving car. This system is designed to prepare and protect the driver and passengers from collisions, even predicting them. It works to adjust front head restraints and seat belts, and while that ability may not seem related to self-driving vehicles, the two are deeply connected. That is because PRESAFE® relies on the car’s ability to detect potential collisions, something a futuristic car would require to avoid traffic.
Yet another innovation Mercedes-Benz offers that becomes a clear step toward the future is ATTENTION ASSIST®. This system analyzes the driver’s behavior to tell whether he or she is too drowsy to safely drive, allowing the system to show a clear awareness of every detail that is important to driving.
Active Lane Keeping Assist
When most automobile experts are asked to name particular Mercedes-Benz features that show how this manufacturer is taking the lead toward the self-driving car, they will point out Active Lane Keeping Assist or Active Blind Spot Assist.
Lane Keeping Assist relies on a special camera that tracks markings along the road. If it notices that you have started to drift and are leaving your lane, it will vibrate your steering wheel. If that doesn’t help you enough, the system will take a step toward driving itself and use advanced active technology to apply brakes on one side of your car, guiding you to return to your lane.
Blind Spot Assist performs a similar set of actions, but is focused on detecting objects located in your blind spots that could be potential collisions. This system uses various radar sensors and will signal you via a light and sound if there is a vehicle in your blind spot. Between all of these features that have already been introduced and the innovation in progress, it is clear that Mercedes-Benz is in fact leading the race to the self-driving car.