More than a year has passed since Tesla started marketing cars with an autonomous driving technology called AutoPilot that allows cars to cruise highways on its own with only slight interference from the driver. Tesla has become the leading company in selling cars with self-drive capability.
Other companies are developing their versions of autonomous technology and Mercedes-Benz is the first serious contender as Tesla's main competitor. The company has just recently released the next generation autonomous technology named Drive Pilot for application in its Mercedes S-Class cars.
According to The Verge who tested the Mercedes-Benz car with Drive Pilot in the Nevada desert roads, the system performed better than its competition. In the Drive Pilot, the driver can have control over the car while it is run by the self-drive system just like Tesla's AutoPilot. The driver simply supervises the self-drive system as it conducts the steering operations.
Drive Pilot is capable of doing 80 percent of the driving tasks, leaving the rest of the work for the driver to do. The company placed a much simpler version of the Drive Pilot into the 2017 Mercedes E-Class which can only do 20 percent of the driving.
The Drive Pilot system can be started in the car by pressing a button conveniently positioned in the steering wheel. The system immediately maintains the current speed and follows the right lane in the highway. From time to time, the system gives a reminder signal that it is operating the car.
The driver must acknowledge warning signals made by the system by simply lightly touching the steering wheel. The system will yield control of the vehicle when a tighter grip on the steering is made.
If the driver does not acknowledge the warning signal, the system will stop the car on the road and automatically flashes the warning lights. When this happens, the system will automatically open a Mercedes SOS communication line and the driver can ask a technician to help troubleshoot a problem. The Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot system is another successful breakthrough in self-driving technology.