Mercedes-Benz Gets Go-Ahead to Test Autonomous E-Class in Nevada

The new autonomous E-Class will hit Nevada's streets 1 photo
Photo: Daimler AG
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class becomes the first standard-production vehicle to be granted a test license for autonomous driving after Nevada legislators allowed the German carmaker to run tests on public roads and in normal traffic conditions.
In order to be tested, autonomous vehicles have to be equipped with special hardware and software, including specialized sensors, modified steering or an adapted ESP, which make them look more like a spaceship rather than a car. The new E-Class doesn’t need any of that because the car is already packed with intelligent technology, and the engineers only had to make small software adjustments to the DRIVE PILOT control unit.

According to Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, “The fact that Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first vehicle manufacturer to be awarded such a license shows that we are a step ahead when it comes to autonomous driving. The new E-Class is, therefore, another big step to the fully automated vehicle.”

The three standard-production vehicles are allowed to drive themselves on all interstates and highways in Nevada. The test drives on public roads will be carried out by specially trained drivers, the human factor being needed only for turning, merging and departing.

These aren't the Stuttgart-based company's first autonomous vehicles to hit the streets, as two self-driving Daimler trucks have been in operation on public roads since May 2015.

Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles (NDMV) rules say that there must be two passengers in the vehicle, one of whom must be behind the wheel, while in autonomous mode. The test vehicles can be recognized by their red number plates, reserved for driverless cars.

Governor Brian Sandoval stated that “Nevada is proud to serve as the location where Daimler, an international automotive leader, can explore and test the possibilities of its cutting-edge autonomous vehicle.

The Silver State has taken a few significant steps forward when it comes to driverless cars since 2011 when the state’s legislators first passed regulations on autonomous driving. “By collaborating with revolutionary, sustainable and creative endeavors, Nevada is working to be at the forefront of emerging innovative technologies,” Sandoval concluded.

Not long ago, Nevada allowed Kia to test its fully autonomous cars on its public roads and also gave away $335 million to Faraday Future in tax credits, abatements, and other stimuli in order to attract more investments in a Las Vegas suburb, where the Chinese-backed company plans to build its billion dollar factory.

About a year ago, Nevada legislators also gave Tesla $1.3 billion to build its battery manufacturing plant outside Reno.

One of the reasons why most carmakers choose this state for testing their self-driving cars is because the desert state’s road network, landscape, and traffic volume are highly representative of road conditions in the US.
If you liked the article, please follow us:  Google News icon Google News Youtube Instagram
Press Release

Would you like AUTOEVOLUTION to send you notifications?

You will only receive our top stories