Google's self-driving car is not the only game in town when it comes to autonomous driving. A Mercedes-Benz S-500 recently completed its first successful autonomous drive after weaving its way through Germany.
The S-500 research vehicle covered 62 miles (100 km) from Mannheim to Pforzheim in Germany under real traffic conditions, including traffic lights, roundabouts (hey, that's cool — I can barely manage roundabouts), pedestrians, cyclists, and trams. Interestingly, it was the same route taken 125 years ago by motoring pioneer Bertha Benz when she set off on the very first long-distance drive.
But as Jalopnik's Patrick George recently asked, would you buy a car you won't drive?
According to Mercedes-Benz, the car is not meant to completely replace a human operator. The company writes:
While self driving cars will be a reality of future mobility, it is first and foremost the next logical step on the way to accident free driving; LEAVING THE DECISION TO THE DRIVER WHETHER OR NOT the car to take over when needed or wanted. The S-500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE stands in a successful tradition at Mercedes-Benz introducing groundbreaking technologies.