Mercedes-Benz S-Class is already facing its self to the challenges of traffic in China
Anyone who has been in one of the great cities of China It will be appreciated that the traffic, at least compared to European cities, it is quite chaotic. This presents several challenges for foreign driver, but ... can you imagine what it means for an autonomous car?
During the last Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz introduced a program called "World Intelligent Drive"Which seeks to prove its technology autonomous driving in various markets around the world in order to improve it and adapt it to peculiarities of each place, which they are not exactly few.
Until January 2018 this Mercedes-Benz S-Class autonomous will tour the five continents to discover the limits of the system and areas for improvement based on each specific market. The goal is to gather information on real traffic to help the brand to further develop systems and advancing in the Piloted driving.
And it's not that Mercedes-Benz has not done their homework, with more than 5,100 trips aboard 175 test prototypes. Total, more than 9.5 million kilometers in Europe, the United States, China, Australia and South Africa and 1.2 million kilometers in real traffic, but is not yet fuciente.
Autonomous driving is a fundamental pillar of the future strategy of many manufacturers, and Daimler is no exception. CASE, the acronym for this division of the company, whose boss interviewed in the past Hall of Shanghai, serving Connected, Autonomous, Shared & Services and Electric. That is to say, connectivity, autonomous technology, car sharing Y electrification.
East "World Intelligent Drive"After Germany (September) and China (October), will travel to Australia (November) and South Africa (December), where efforts will focus on validation of the latest digital maps HERE and pedestrian detection in various situations, respectively.
Traffic on the main auto market in the world, and especially in a megalopolis like Shanghai, where this special Mercedes-Benz sedan is now, it differs greatly from that of the great cities of Europe or the United States. But ... what presents challenges?
The peculiarities of traffic in China
For starters, amount of traffic and diversity thereof, with two-, three- and four wheels, is already a major challenge for an autonomous car must recognize everything around him. To this we must add also the driver behavior and customs, which can be very different from what we are used to.
As if this were not enough, in China there are places where each lane has a different speed limit (Similar to the right lanes of downtown Madrid limited to 30 km / h), and are also different signaling (Chinese characters) and even road markings.
In Chinese expressways, for example, we can run with crosswalks, although in reality there do not indicate that there will cross the highway passersby as they are marks to indicate the safe distance between vehicles. And this, of course, is something an autonomous car must take into account.
As we told you once after our visit to the Center for Research and Development Mercedes-Benz in China (Beijing), more than 850 employees are responsible for develop, adapt and design technologies and systems for the local Chinese market.