Mercedes-Benz Australia have announced they will begin testing various vehicle technologies on Australian roads. These technologies include current and upcoming Active Safety and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) in conjunction with the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development team based in Sindelfingen, Germany.
These systems are the groundwork required for autonomous driving, but the neat thing is that you can’t really tell this Mercedes-Benz E-Class is fitted with the test equipment, it looks like a normal Benz. While driving throughout Australia, the cars will gather data which will be fed back to Germany for analysis. That includes information such as data regarding local roads, signage, satellite navigation and traffic behaviours.
Australia’s vast array of conditions (and road surfaces) means its a solid testing ground for Mercedes-Benz, so much so, they flew a team of experts to Australia from the headquarters of Mercedez-Benz in Sindlefingen, to implement the testing. This team is headed up by Jochen Haab, Manager of Validation and Communication for Active Safety and Assistance Systems in conjunction with the local arm’s technical team.
Haab has worked for Mercedes-Benz for more than 20 years, with most of his time spent with the Research and Development team. During this tenure Mr Haab and his team have been responsible for testing some of the most important assistance systems and crash mitigation or avoidance technology which has been created and implemented into vehicles used in our daily lives.
“Australia is an important market but also a market we can learn more about by gathering data from our current systems to help develop our technology for future Mercedes-Benz vehicles.
This opportunity allows us to further test in a new right-hand-drive market with good roads, signage, and varying conditions within close proximity of urban areas. For example, you can be in a congested traffic situation in the city, and then 30 minutes later be in a rural-type environment with varying conditions.
In conjunction with our colleagues in Australia we will work towards a close collaboration, regardless of the distance between Germany and Australia.”
The testing regimen will be managed by Mercedes-Benz Australia, working in conjunction with local authorities. Mercedes-Benz Australia Pacific CEO and Managing Director Horst von Sanden said,
“Not only is this an exciting time for our local team to be involved in the development of future Mercedes-Benz technologies but in the long term, this also increases the speed of implementing new safety systems into Australia,” he said.
In 2016, Mercedes-Benz launched the latest E-Class, the “Masterpiece of Intelligence”, which has partially automated features designed to not only keep occupants safe but to also enhance the driving experience and help the driver to be more relaxed and consequently safer.
As the inventor of the automobile over 130 years ago, Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of developing countless life-saving safety features including many game-changers such as Anti-lock Brakes (ABS), the airbag and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
As consumer expectations and competition continue to escalate, this testing will allow Mercedes to continue to advance the technologies customers expect in their vehicles into the future. Safety is one thing, but understanding the environment around the car and dynamically adapting to it without driver intervention not only decreases driver fatigue while keeping occupants safe, it changes the way we thing about driving and vehicle ownership.
When the focus is acutely on the safety of a vehicle’s driver and passenger’s, you quickly reach a point where humans are the biggest liability, so the natural extension of ADAS is driverless vehicles.