Daimler AG is the international German carmaker producing cars, motorcycles, buses, cargo vehicles. It includes Mercedes-Benz, Mercedes-AMG, Mitsubishi Fuso, Smart, Freightliner, Detroit Diesel, Western Star, Thomas Built Buses, Setra, BharatBenz and many others.
With the beginning of the competition for the creating of self-driving vehicles, the serious result of works was for the first time shown at the end of August 2013 when the autonomous Mercedes-Benz S500 equipped with 8 cameras, 6 radar sensors, 12 ultrasonic sensors passed the way of 62 miles from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany, at the same time moving on city streets.
Since autumn 2013, models of the Mercedes-Benz E-and S-Class Model Intelligent Drive equipped with a new security system, which makes the car partially self-driving, became available on sale. The system was a result of the 15-years summer work in the company and had such options as the deduction of a lane, control of distance, prevention of crash, help at the parking, and help in steering. Since then, the system is regularly updated and for 2017, it received the name Drive Pilot. In comparison with the initial version, now the mode of help in driving, at which it is possible don’t hold a wheel, is increased from 10 to 30 seconds, and it functions at a speed up to 130 mph. Nevertheless, the driver has to observe vigilance, as this technology is only a part of the autonomous system.
Mercedes Self-Driving Trucks
It is quite probable that self-driving trucks can go on roads first because they work in less close conditions since the majority of the time they spent not in the cities but on the highways. In this case, Daimler succeeds.
In July 2014, Daimler showed a pilot model of autonomous Mercedes-Benz Future Truck 2025 on the A14 highway in Magdeburg, Germany, which moved at a speed of 50 mph. The truck had the unusual design: it had a large number of light-emitting diodes instead of headlights, and cameras instead of rear-view mirrors. But it was the only demonstration while the first real road testing took place in Germany on the 2nd of October 2015 when the self-driving Mercedes-Benz Actros with the Highway Pilot system passed from Stuttgart airport to Denkendorf.
A little earlier, on the 6th of May 2015, in Nevada state, the license for testing of self-driving auto trucks on roads was granted. Daimler becomes the corporation, which began the test of driverless cars in the USA amongst first.
In April 2016, Daimler Trucks participated in “European Truck Platooning Challenge”, consisting of 6 producers. The caravan of auto trucks passed through Sweden, Denmark, and Germany, having finished a travel to Rotterdam and Netherlands. Auto trucks were connected with WiFi by means of which the function of synchronous speed up and braking was realized. Also, due to synchronized movement, vehicles had a smaller spacing that in turn gave about 10% of fuel economy.
On the 16th of September, 2014 permission of DMV of the USA concerning testing of autonomous vehicles in the State of California came into force. Mercedes-Benz appeared among the first who started test of the self-driving cars on roads of San Francisco.
At the end of 2014, it became known about the cooperation of Mercedes-Benz with LG, the purpose of which was a creation of chamber systems of the new generation, which will help computers and software’s algorithms to become acquainted with some aspects of drivers’ behavior.
On the 6th of January 2015, on CES in Las Vegas, the concept car named Mercedes-Benz F 015 was presented. The model F 015 isn’t similar to cars known to us and shows only the vision of the company about driverless vehicles in the future. The car works on hydrogen fuel elements. The main part consists of carbon plastic and weighs 40% less because of it. The huge interior is made of walnut wood. Sitting in the interior, people can turn around to each other. In addition, big touch screens are placed near each passenger.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus on the public roads in Netherlands was demonstrated on July 18, 2016. The bus is equipped with semiautonomous system CityPilot that works at the speed up to 43 miles and is capable of recognizing all participants of the road traffic, as well as road signs, markup, lights, and other objects. The hardware equipment includes about 10 cameras, radar system, and an exact GPS navigator.
At the end of January 2017, Daimler and Uber declared cooperation. The companies don’t intend to develop technology together. Self-driving cars by Mercedes-Benz will work in Uber taxi fleet. This transaction is favorable to Daimler because the sphere of autonomous cars is aimed at realization with the help of passenger and cargo taxi services.
On the 4th of April 2017, Daimler makes a union with Bosch for joint development of the software, which is responsible for steering of driverless cars. Moreover, the Alliance has also announced about the ‘robo-taxis’ project and its plans to start the project implementation in the beginning of the next decade.
Mercedes-Benz doesn’t report the exact start date of production of self-driving cars but is aimed to bring the automation SEA-4 level at the beginning of the next decade.