As Mercedes-Benz revises and reinvents its popular E-Class executive sedan, fully autonomous driving will pretty much become a reality, according to The Detroit Bureau.
The car, which is expected to debut globally at the 2016 North American International Auto Show in Detroit early next year, will reportedly allow hands-free highway cruising and low-speed urban commutes. It will stop and start in congested traffic, too.
Company insiders told the website that the next Mercedes-Benz E-Class will offer all the autonomous driving and technologically advanced safety features found in the all-new and much more expensive 2016 BMW 7 Series.
“Innovations in this area are coming thick and fast,” said Thomas Weber, head of development at Daimler AG, in a recent interview with Bloomberg. “While we don’t want to feed wrong expectations such as sleeping in the car, autonomous driving is set to become a reality much more quickly than the public thinks.”
Last January, Mercedes-Benz unveiled a fully autonomous prototype, the F 015 Luxury in Motion, at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. This electric car with variable seating has four rotating lounge chairs allowing a face-to-face seat configuration. Moreover, passengers can interact intuitively with the connected vehicle through gestures, eye-tracking or by touching the high-resolution screens.
Of course, Mercedes-Benz isn't alone on the self-driving car bandwagon. The upcoming Cadillac CT6 will feature a hands-free drive mode when it hits the market in 2017, Tesla has announced a similar system called “Auto Pilot,” and Nissan promised to sell a fully autonomous vehicle by 2020.