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Old September 10 2013, 07:23 PM   #62
DarthTom
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Re: Technological Stagnation

Strange concidence, this story is running today:

Financial Times

When Mercedes-Benz launched its S-Class saloon at a Hamburg airfield in May, the carmaker pulled out all the stops, booking singer Alicia Keys to serenade the new luxury vehicle. But the real show-stopper was the rich palette of automated driving functions that the Stuttgart-based carmaker packed into its flagship model.


The S-Class combines an onboard stereo camera with long, medium and short-range radar that allows the vehicle to brake autonomously if a pedestrian suddenly steps into the road as well as correct an attempt to change lane if it is already occupied.
On the motorway, the vehicle automatically positions itself in the centre of the lane. Adaptive cruise control at speeds of up to 200kph ensures it maintains a constant distance from the vehicle in front. In a slow-moving traffic jam situation, the vehicle can in effect drive by itself.
Ralf Herrtwich, director of driver assistance and chassis systems at Mercedes-Benz, says the networking of cameras, sensors, actuators, data-processing and back-up systems required to deliver autonomous driving is of “almost mind-boggling complexity”. Still, the marque’s owner Daimler aims to be the first to introduce other autonomous functions in series production vehicles this decade.
Indeed, self-driving cars, long a staple of science fiction movies, are step by step becoming science fact and autonomous driving technologies will be very much in evidence when the Frankfurt motor show commences on Tuesday.
Ralf Cramer, board member at Continental, the German parts supplier, explains: “Autonomous driving will come about from a base of advanced driving assistance systems. Technically, we can do it already today [in testing and development] but if we put all this technology into a production car, the vehicle would be too expensive.”
Some of these systems are already finding their way into non-premium vehicles. The new Ford Focus can parallel park itself without the driver touching the wheel and the Ford S-Max Concept, to be shown in Frankfurt, includes perpendicular parking capability and automatic braking if a collision with a pedestrian is imminent.
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