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Stuttgart authorizes Mercedes-Benz to test autonomous vehicles on public roads

The Stuttgart government bureau recently authorized Mercedes-Benz to test next-generation autonomous vehicles on public roads. The aim of the autonomous test vehicle fleet—based on the Mercedes-Benz V class—is to test the latest sensor generations and the DAVOS (Daimler Autonomous Vehicle Operating System) system intensively in real traffic.


New on board are—besides LiDAR sensors—deep learning technologies as well as GPUs. The testing of the fully automated driving will be monitored by two specially trained drivers in the car for safety reasons.

In 2011, Mercedes-Benz obtained approval for the testing of autonomous vehicles on German roads and thus successfully completed the Bertha Benz trip in August 2013. Mercedes-Benz has developed DAVOS for autonomous vehicles based on these experiences, which have been accumulated at the time, as well as numerous further trials worldwide.



The Germans had better get a move on if they do not want to get left far behind by Tesla and google, etc. So they better get as many cars as possible onto real roads.


Mercedes 2013 100 mile journey through all sorts of traffic without touching the wheel and including roundabouts, traffic lights, autobahn and crowded city centres with loads of pedestrians and so on is still the most impressive demo I have ever seen:

They are now going to do it with much more production ready equipment.

Tesla collecting who knows what data, and processing it who knows how, no matter how many miles it covers with unknown comprehensiveness, does not impress me.

The only thing that they have shown is a readiness to release beta software in safety critical applications to wholly untrained members of the general public, in cars capable of 'ludicrous' acceleration.

They are the only car company which has killed people AFAIK with their AP.

Brent Jatko

The slow, methodical German approach will be eclipsed by the faster pace of Silicon Valley.

By the time conservative Mercedes gets its product to mass market, Tesla will be in a dominant position.

Account Deleted

As usual Davemart is spreading false and negative news about Tesla on the internet just like a paid fossil fuel lobbyist would do.

There is only one confirmed death accident in a Tesla with autopilot activated, not many, as claimed by Davemart. And he also lies about other automakers having no death accidents in cars with their autopilot activated. We don’t know how many deaths other automakers’ autopilot systems may have been involved in as their cars are not collecting that info yet. Tesla is the only car maker in the world that systematically record autopilot info and upload it to Tesla’s data center for further analysis for every car they sell. Tesla is also the only car in the world that has a black box that record this info and that can be used to recover this info in case the car is destroyed so much in the accident that its connection to Tesla’s data center is lost and the info cannot automatically be uploaded to Tesla.

Then there is the question of how many lives Tesla’s autopilot is saving. People are being killed in traffic mainly because of human error from being inattentive with or without autopilot. However, with autopilot on the chance that a driver is inattentive to the point that it causes a death is far less because the autopilot is always attentive and can drive the vehicle safely in most situations. We need billions of miles with autopilot on before conclusive evidence can be made on the safety advantages of Tesla’s autopilot. However, that data will come by 2018 when over 500,000 Tesla cars are driving on autopilot most if not all of the time in all kind of situations.


Change said:

'There is only one confirmed death accident in a Tesla with autopilot activated, not many, as claimed by Davemart.'

You do not understand the English language. 'People' in this context includes the singular, 'person'

And because Elon is slippery and tries to claim that AP is not responsible as much as possible, the claim of one person involves ignoring the car in China driving into a stationary roadsweeper, which would be incredible with no variation in speed or direction if it were a person, but has happened before with non-lethal consequences under AP.

And then Tesla discounts any incidents where the driver tries to snatch back control to make up for the APs failures.

If you have disconnected by touching the steering, brakes or accelerator even half a second before impact, that is you and not the AP in the world of Elon.

As for the claim that statistics show the AP as being safer than human driving, swallowing that bull from Elon requires you to be utterly ignorant of stats.

He generalised from one incident, and compared it to all vehicles, including tuk tuks in the third world, not large executive cars driven in the developed world by the safest demographics, which if is the valid sample.

Because you have swallowed patent gibberish, it does not make it sense.


My view is that you will kill a few, (possibly quite a few) people along way to fully autonomous vehicles. You have to balance this with the number of lives you will save when you get it more or less working. The problem is that we will know the identity of the people killed by AVs, but will only see the lives saved statistically - no-one will know whose lives were saved, so no credit will be given for this.
The trick will be to pace the development such that minimum people are killed or injured and yet it happens as quickly as possible.
You may have to treat each new city as a new environment, certainly at the start as new things are encountered (cyclists and bike lanes in SF, for instance).
After a while, we may plateau and see no substantially new phenomena when we encounter a new city. (And eventually, new countries).
What you do not want is to move to too many new cities all at once so that the new situations come in faster than they can be programmed (or trained up).


mahonj said:

'My view is that you will kill a few, (possibly quite a few) people along way to fully autonomous vehicles. '

Absolutely unnecessary in my view, and more importantly that of Google, Volvo, Ford, GM and Toyota.

It is just Tesla pushing hard to get the drop on everyone else, push beta software onto the roads as they have just done with the AP2 to 1,000 (unqualified) drivers, sensor suites which the manufacturer told them could not detect cross traffic and so on.

That is bad engineering and pushing for sales, not inherent difficulties in bringing out proper, safe fully developed Ap systems with a full array of sensors, co-ordination with traffic management and so on.

The rest are trying to get it right, and taking their time to do so.

Tesla is concerned with rushing something or the other out of the door.

Account Deleted

Mahonj is right. You cannot avoid accidents and deaths with fully autonomous vehicles. Neither during their development nor after they are developed for deployment on a massive scale. Accidents will still happen no matter how much we try to avoid it just like they do with human drivers. Both hardware and software can fail and other human drivers can crash into self driving vehicles. The objective is not to avoid accidents but to minimize the chance that they will happen. The data from large fleets of autonomous cars will show how successful the automakers are at minimizing the number of accidents per mile traveled in various circumstances. We need hundreds of thousands of fully autonomous cars to make scientific sense from that data in a practically short time like on a monthly or quarterly basis. Tesla will not start to get that before the end of 2018. Other automakers will start to get it by 2021 to 2022.


Look at it like this:

1.2M people are killed on the roads every year - OK, many in places that can't afford AVs.
But you still have 85K in Europe, 42K in the USA, 6K in Japan, 5.4K in South Korea and so on, say 140K in wealthy countries.
If you can save 90% of the road deaths in these countries, that is 126K deaths / year. If you delay by 1 year, you will cause 126K preventable deaths.
If, by accelerating the development, you kill an extra 1000 people due to AV bugs [a lot], you still kill < 1% of the people you would save by speeding up development by 1 year.

[ Obviously, the "west" won't switch wholesale to AVs, but they will switch over say 10-20 years and if this is accelerated by 1 year, you save the lives. ]

It is a bit like testing vaccines, you may kill 1 or two people in the testing, but you will save thousands once you get the vaccine.

So get on with it.

Account Deleted

Very good points mahonj. Accepting a few more death can be a small price to pay for the many more lives that are saved from getting faster to market with this life saving tech.

I don’t think that 1000 will be lost on that account. Tesla could make the level 5 software as soon as dec 2017 (although I expect several months of delays) and I doubt we will see more than 10 new deaths until then in Tesla cars with autopilot on. There could even be zero new death. However, Tesla is not alone and others may see some death before they get a fully working version of the software ready. Still 1000 is a lot IMO. It is probably less than 100 before every car maker has developed their own level 5 systems.

In principle poor countries could get self-driving cars just as fast as rich countries because self-driving taxies will cost less per miles than self owned low cost gassers cost per mile. However, rich countries will be willing to pay a large premium to be first in line for self-driving cars as they are safer and save time. Initially the demand will far outstrip the capacity to make the self-driving cars. Tesla will probably see much higher share prices when they succeed being the first auto company that has fully self driving cars. Self driving ability is going to be the best selling point ever. It trumps everything else by a large margin.


Automated driving has to perform (almost) perfectly to establish and maintain an essential credibility level.

The current hardware and software is not sufficiently developed and will not be fully proven much before 2022/2025, especially for all weather conditions.

No doubt that it will reduce accidents and save many lives in the post 2025 era, when used in most new vehicles.

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