DOGGe: Along with the countless times I have seen one of Google's self-driving cars cruising around Mountain View the last few years, I just noticed this Mercedes a couple of times last week. Looks like self-drivers are getting closer...
The Mercedes was being followed both times by another white S-500 with no markings, no doubt a "chase" car. Both had special manufacturer's license plates from Michigan, the numbers featuring a small 'm' between them, similar to this one:
I looked it up on the 'net and discovered this:
Report – Mercedes-Benz could offer autonomous driving as an option by 2020
Joining the autonomous driving pack of 2020, Mercedes-Benz will launch cars that can fully drive themselves – though this technology will not have a special version for that purpose. It looks like the Germans will offer a package that will optionally equip the standard line-up.
Looking to incorporate the autonomous driving technology into its full lineup, Mercedes-Benz will most likely start with the usual setup, equipping the next generation S Class with it.
“Our approach is, let’s not do it with a special car with a lot of antennas, let’s do it with a standard car,” said Thomas Weber, head of product engineering for Mercedes-Benz cars.
They already have the new generation S Class fitted as an experimental car – the culmination of twenty years of research and development – and it recently completed a trip of around 60 miles in full autonomous control. An engineer was on board, with no control input, as it went into traffic on highways and joined busy city streets.
Mercedes decided to install onboard the self-driving S500 Intelligent Drive experimental car just production available cameras and sensors in order to demonstrate the technology can be readily used and it’s not just sci-fi material.
DOGGe: Interestingly I was following the Intelligent Drive and it's companion during my second sighting of it, and after making a left from a turn lane and while going around a wide curve of unique shape, the self-driving Mercedes began to drift to the outer edge, reaching maybe only a couple of feet from the curb. It then quickly moved back to the middle of the lane and accelerated away, making me think the driver took over at that point. I didn't follow further, my destination taking me on a different route from that point.
It certainly looked like the Mercedes was having trouble making that turn to me. Here's our path thanks to Google Earth:
Anyway, I find it fascinating seeing these vehicle cruising around under experimentation, sort of like spy-spotting test mules of new car models around Detroit and elsewhere.
Has anyone else seen one of the Google self-drivers or mappers in their area at any time? They look somewhat similar to each other, except the Google Street cars has a big ball-like camera thingy sticking up in the air, while the laser sensor on top of the self-driver rotates visibly.
....Google self-driving car....
....Google StreetView camera car...
Who knows what crazy ideas they will try next...A car that can't have a ahead-on collision?
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