The Verge took Mercedes Drive Pilot on the road and it says it looks amazing, “better than Elon’s”.
Drive Pilot is to the steering wheel what adaptive cruise is to stop and go pedals. Like Tesla’s Autopilot, the Mercedes system allows the driver to hand over direct control of steering and speed, while still supervising the overall operation of the car. Think of the driver as a manager in charge of employees: they’re controlling overall direction, but not micromanaging each individual operation.
The system adapts to how much steering force is used, which allows the driver to decide exactly how much input to give. Use a light touch and the steering assist does most of the work. Apply a firmer hand and the system seamlessly gives up control. With Tesla’s Autopilot, applying steering force results in a slightly alarming jerk of the wheel when the system disengages. Mercedes engineers told me they wanted anyone to be able to take control of the car without any difficulty, noting more than once that the driver was always in charge, no matter how much work the car was doing on their behalf.
This is particularly exciting for me because Mercedes-Benz has been a huge supporter of the Udacity Self-Driving Car Engineer Nanodegree Program. In fact, Mercedes-Benz engineers are personally designing and teaching large parts of our upcoming Sensor Fusion and Localization modules.
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