S 500 "INTELLIGENT DRIVE" drives autonomously in the tracks of Bertha Benz
With its S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle, Mercedes-Benz in August 2013 became the world's first automobile manufacturer to demonstrate that autonomous driving in rural and urban traffic is possible – and it did so on a historic route.
The approximately 100-kilometre-long route from Mannheim to Pforzheim followed the tracks of pioneer Bertha Benz, who had set out on the first long-distance automobile journey over the same route exactly 125 years earlier. In dense 21st-century traffic, the autonomously driving S-Class was required to successfully cope with some highly complex situations involving traffic lights, roundabouts, pedestrians, cyclists and trams. What makes this ground-breaking achievement even more special is that it was realised not through the application of extremely expensive special technology, but by means of production-based technology of the kind already available today in new E- and S-Class vehicles. The project thus marks a milestone on the way from the self- moving (automobile) to the self-driving (autonomous) car.