In time for New Year Mercedes-Benz the license from its home town Stuttgart to test self-driving cars on public roads. In a press announcement the company digs into more details of what the licenses includes:
The goal of the autonomous test fleet based on Mercedes-Benz V-class is to test intensively the newest generation of sensors as well as the DAVOS operating system (Daimler Autonomous Vehicle Operating System) in real traffic. Newly included are besides Lidar-sensors also Deep Learning-technologies, as well as graphic processors that have so far rarely been used in the automotive sector. The test vehicles will always be staffed with two trained engineers to assure the safe testing of the autonomous vehicles.
The announcement does not reveal from which companies the sensors and processors are. Other manufacturers of autonomous vehicles rely in their tests on Velodyne sensors and NVIDIA-graphic processors.
A current development focus is according to the announcement a vehicle that can be summoned by a passenger from the parking lot. This feature is known as Summon-functionality and a standard in Tesla-vehicles. With that a passenger can call the car from the parking spot to the position of the passenger, as long as he is not located too far from the parking spot – and actually still at the parking lot.
Already in 2013 a Mercedes-Benz finished a test drive with an autonomous vehicle at the same road that Bertha Benz famously took over hundred years ago for the first time. Mercedes-Benz also has test permits for autonomous vehicles in California and Nevada.