Are we nearly there yet?

No, but we’re get­ting close to self-driv­ing be­ing a re­al­ity

CAR (UK) - - OUR CARS - BEN OLIVER @thebeno­liver

AT FOUR AND FIVE years old my kids are prob­a­bly the irst gen­er­a­tion for whom a semi-au­tonomous car is en­tirely nor­mal.

In our time with the E­Class All Ter­rain we’ve done some long road trips in it to­gether. The weight-sens­ing au­to­matic front airbag de­ac­ti­va­tion means that one of them can ride up front with me and marvel more clearly at the Level 2 au­tonomous DrivePilot sys­tem do­ing its thing: turn­ing the wheel to stay in lane, ex­e­cut­ing lane changes un­aided, lock­ing onto and fol­low­ing the ve­hi­cle in front, and brak­ing to a stand­still if re­quired.

Don’t tell Mercedes, but the kids also drive it (well, steer it while sit­ting on my lap) on the farm tracks around us, which the All Ter­rain cov­ers com­fort­ably at 25mph with the ride height raised in o’-road mode. The self-steer­ing thing has be­come so nor­mal to them that when I let Tom ‘drive’ my Peu­geot 205 GTi over the same tracks re­cently he turned to me and ex­plained, in­cred­u­lously, that the funny lit­tle white car couldn’t drive it­self. A re­cent sur­vey found that three-quar­ters of us still wouldn’t ride in an au­tonomous car, and two-thirds don’t want to share the roads with one. Tom will have his li­cence in 12 years. Such re­sis­tance won’t last long.

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