On the road to autonomous driving. Intelligent World Drive on five continents

Deep Learning in country-specific, real road traffic plays a central role on the road to autonomous driving. This is shown by Mercedes-Benz Intelligent World Drive, which ended at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas after five months.

A test vehicle on the basis of the current S Class completed a challenging study trip on five continents in order to "learn" in automated test drives in real traffic. From zebra crossings on Chinese motorways, turning off right from the left-hand lane in Melbourne, Australia, pedestrian traffic on all kinds of roads in South Africa or a temporary driving ban in the immediate vicinity of stopping school buses in the USA – on every continent the S Class faced challenges which will have an influence on the driving characteristics of future autonomous vehicles. Automated and autonomous vehicles have to know about these country-specific particularities and understand them in their respective context in order to be able to make the correct driving decisions.

The Intelligent World Drive also underlines just how important the international harmonisation of the legal framework for automated and autonomous driving and its infrastructure is, in particular of lane markings and traffic signs.

The Intelligent World Drive makes it clear that autonomous driving requires global development activities and test drives. Automated and autonomous vehicles need international learning material from actual road traffic in order to understand traffic situations and to be prepared for different scenarios.

Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development

Intelligent World Drive provides an insight into the complexity of global challenges

With the test vehicle on the basis of a semi-automated S-Class test drives were carried out in Germany, China, Australia, South Africa and the USA. The differences in the countries give a small insight into the complexity of global challenges in the development of automated and autonomous driving functions. In particular the national particularities in terms of infrastructure, traffic regulations and the conduct of other road users place very different requirements on the sensors and algorithms of the vehicle. It also becomes apparent just how important high-resolution maps could become for the development of higher automation. Daimler AG is thus involved in the map service HERE and is working on faster implementation and updating of even more precise navigation data.