Google has been pushing self-driving car technology for much of the last few years, and Audi showed off its own self-driving vehicle at the last CES, and now Mercedes-Benz is throwing its hat into the ring. According to The New York Times, the automaker showed off its “virtual chauffer” technology in its new $100,00 S-Class in Hamburg, Germany — it’s a car that Mercedes-Benz says can steer itself in city traffic or keep it in its lane going over 120MPH on a highway, under the right conditions.
It can also park itself, brake automatically to avoid hitting pedestrians or other cars, and can even tell when a driver is becoming dangerously fatigued. Mercedes compared it to a plane’s autopilot system, in which the plane can perform many of the routine tasks necessary to get it from point A to point B while a human keeps its eye on things to watch out for trouble.
Of course, this is just the beginning — the automaker wants to make the car smart enough to safely change lanes while cruising at Autobahn speeds. While the tech Mercedes-Benz is packing into this vehicle is undoubtably impressive, we’re still a long ways from this car actually driving itself. Users will be required by law to keep at least one hand on the wheel at all times, so owners won’t exactly be able to just kick back and read the paper on their commute. Still, with major corporations like Google, Audi, and now Mercedes-Benz making autonomous cars a priority, there’s a chance that we’ll see automakers meet that three- to five-year timeline Google is shooting for.