Mercedes increases autonomous car testing in California

Mercedes increases autonomous car testing in California

Test cars to be driven on public roads and at former military base.

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October 7, 2014

Sunnyvale, California – Mercedes-Benz began testing autonomously driving automobiles on public roads in California in September. In addition, the company will from now on also use Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS), the largest test bed site in the US, for further testing of its future technology.

"We can use the test site in Concord, California, to run simulation tests with self-driving vehicles in a secure way, including specific hazardous situations", explained Dr Axel Gern, head of autonomous driving at Mercedes-Benz Research and Development North America Inc. "Taken in conjunction with the results of our test drives on public roads, these tests will help us with the ongoing development of our autonomous cars." The focus of research nevertheless continues to lie on the tests undertaken in a real-life environment, he emphasized.

In August 2013 the Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE, a new-model S-Class equipped with near-production-standard technology, drove fully autonomously the 100km distance between the German cities of Mannheim and Pforzheim, following the historic route taken by Bertha Benz.

The CNWS test site features a network of surfaced roads resembling an urban grid plan, making it an ideal location for testing autonomously driving vehicles in surroundings that are as close to real life as they can be. For security reasons the testing ground, which is operated by the US Navy in conjunction with the City of Concord and the Contra Costa County Transportation Authority, is not accessible to the public. With a test area covering 2,100 acres, the CNWS site is currently the largest and most secure test bed site in the US.

Source: Daimler Corp.