Look, no hands
Car makes autonomous drive from Dubai to Abu Dhabi
A car manufacturer has proved how close we are to riding around in autonomous vehicles by driving a sedan from Dubai to Abu Dhabi without using the steering wheel, brakes or accelerator.
Mercedes-Benz said it had successfully completed an autonomous journey between the two cities despite the challenge of “speeding and aggressive drivers”.
The modified E-Class travelled from Jebel Ali to central Abu Dhabi on Friday. The driver’s only job was to flick the indicator when he wanted the car to change lane.
Mercedes conducted the trip in collaboration with the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), which is itself currently testing out the electric, driverless EZ10 in Business Bay. The Dubai Government wants 25 per cent of journeys by driverless transport by 2030.
The announcement of the handsfree drive was made at the International Conference on Future Mobility in Dubai yesterday.
Mark de Haes, CEO and President at Mercedes-Benz Cars Middle East, said the firm carried out the test by modifying the driver assistance system already fitted to the car, which includes intelligent cruise control and collision avoidance systems. De Haes said: “The traffic situation itself for this car is not a problem, but while this road is very straight, it’s a very complex road. “You have a lot of speeding and aggressive driving, but as long as the car sees the cars next to it, it has no problem to keep in the lane. It’s always concentrating on the lanes, lines on the ground and the car in front and the cars to the side. “There were situations where it had to move lane from left to right, just by [the driver] moving the indicator the car itself goes to the left, depending on the traffic. “Overall, the only thing the driver needs to do if he wants to overtake is put the indicator on the left, and then the car looks to see if there is something coming from behind and if the space is free it overtakes, sits back in the lane and continues to drive.” He added: “This test drive constitutes a major step towards our vision of autonomous driving. We have been working tirelessly to achieve this milestone.”