With the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle, Mercedes-Benz demonstrated the feasibility of autonomous driving on both interurban and urban routes.
In August 1888, Bertha Benz set off on her famous first long-distance automobile journey from Mannheim to Pforzheim. In doing so, the wife of Carl Benz demonstrated the suitability of the Benz Patent Motor Car for everyday use and thus paved the way for the worldwide success of the automobile. Precisely 125 years later, in August 2013, Mercedes-Benz recorded a no less spectacular pioneering achievement following the same route. Developed on the basis of the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, the S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle autonomously covered the approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) between Mannheim and Pforzheim, while negotiating dense traffic and complex traffic situations.
“This S-Class spells out where we’re headed with ‘Intelligent Drive’ and what tremendous potential there is in currently available technology,” says Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management at Daimler and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars. For the Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle was equipped with production-based sensors for the project. Based on a further development of the sensor technologies already in use in the new S-Class, the developers taught the technology platform to know where it is, what it sees and how to react autonomously. With the aid of its highly automated “Route Pilot,” the vehicle is able to negotiate its own way through traffic.