Prototypes such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE, the F 015 Luxury in Motion or the Future Truck 2025 show that the technical conditions for autonomous driving are already well established. And demonstrations of our intelligent Highway Pilot in the Freightliner Inspiration Truck in Nevada (USA) and a series production Mercedes-Benz Actros in Germany have proven that it is ready for autonomous driving on public roads.
The required sensors and cameras have long been used in series production vehicles and undertake increasing numbers of tasks on the driver's behalf. Today's discussion no longer revolves around whether the technology will deliver on its promise but whether people want what the technology can deliver. And whether society and legislators are ready for this "revolution in automobility".
When it comes to passenger transport, autonomous driving ensures more safety, more comfort and more mobility. A purpose-designed research vehicle, the F 015 Luxury in Motion, shows what an autonomous Mercedes-Benz may look like in the future. We are convinced that the car can be more than just a means of transport: we see it as a private retreat that offers more freedom. Because autonomous driving allows us to use our time on the move as we wish. Naturally the design of this private retreat reflects the Mercedes-Benz brand.
When it comes to freight transport autonomous driving brings additional advantages. More efficiency: a more steady flow of traffic reduces fuel consumption and emissions. Better coordination of all processes: thanks to the connection to telematics solutions for fleets, routes and trips, diagnosis and servicing can be better planned. And what difference will it make for the drivers? On the one hand, time pressure will be reduced. After all, if all partners are informed about the progress of the journey in real time, there is no reason to explain a delay. On the other hand, drivers can "hand over control" on monotonous stretches of road. Anyone picturing a driver dozing in a moving truck at this point is very much on the wrong track, however. The driver is a key part of the system. In certain traffic situations, for example on motorways and rural roads, in city traffic and when connecting semitrailers and making deliveries, the driver must retain control of the truck.
Autonomous mobility will bring about major changes and involve many different parties. Psychological barriers must be overcome in the same way that social acceptance must be gained. This requires a sound legal basis across country borders that regulates autonomous traffic and covers questions of liability in the event of a collision.
The following Special sheds light on the different aspects of autonomous driving: the latest developments at Daimler for passenger cars and trucks, the questions which people face at the wheel of a self-driving vehicle, social and legislative aspects and as yet unanswered questions regarding data privacy.