Mercedes-Benz became this week the first commercial carmaker to receive a test licence to operate an autonomous-drive car on off-highway roads in Nevada. The U.S. state was one of the first to pass regulations regarding self-driving cars in 2011, and is considered a leader in the fledgling domain of autonomous driving laws.
Three of the German manufacturer’s E-Class cars have been approved for operation on city and secondary roads in Nevada, which already allows self-driving cars on its interstates and state highways. The cars will be manned by specially trained test drivers, and will feature only minor modifications made to Mercedes-Benz’ existing DRIVE PILOT control unit, according to the carmaker.
For Mercedes-Benz, being the first manufacturer to put one of its commercial-production cars on the road in all types of autonomous driving situations is an indication of its commitment to being at the forefront of emerging technologies. According to Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, the E-Class test drive permits show that the company is “a step ahead when it comes to autonomous driving. The new E-Class is… another big step to the fully automated vehicle.”