Mercedes bets on evolution as Tesla touts revolution in automated driving

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IMMENDINGEN, Germany (Reuters) – As Tesla touts the cutting-edge nature of its new Full Self Driving software, rival Mercedes-Benz says it has developed a similar system but stops short of allowing members of the public to take it on urban roads.

The Germans, pioneers in developing advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), are taking a step-by-step approach to releasing new technology, waiting for their own engineers, rather than the general public, to validate their system.

Both approaches – one conservative and one radical in nature – are designed to push highly automated driving on to public roads, a step that could massively reduce accidents, since computers have faster accident-avoidance reflexes than humans.

Advanced driver assistance systems can provide steering, braking and acceleration support under limited circumstances, generally on highways. Carmakers have refrained from relying on their technology to let cars navigate urban inner-city traffic.

Tesla broke this tradition last week when it released its FSD software which allows its computer-powered cars to practise their reflexes in inner-city traffic situations, with a warning that its cars “May Do the Wrong Thing at the Worst Time.”

Mercedes does not allow members of the public to test still-experimental systems. Its engineers need to pass an eligibility exam to become test drivers, and another one for testing automated driving systems, the carmaker said.

Rather than force their customers to put their trust in processors, software and the ability of machines to learn over time, the Germans want their cars to be validated by engineers so that they remain predictable for owners. READ MORE

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