Daimler became the first international automaker to receive a road test license for highly automated driving research vehicles (level 4) in Beijing, marking a major new milestone in the company’s local research and development efforts in China.
Urban traffic is one of the biggest challenges on the road to autonomous driving. With this approval, Mercedes-Benz test vehicles will now begin real road tests to further perfect the technology in the Chinese capital of Beijing, a metropolis with unique and complex urban traffic situations.
As a global pioneer in developing automated driving technology, Daimler has already obtained automated driving test licenses in Germany and the U.S., and has continuously pushed forward automated driving development in China, working together with its local partners to adapt its technologies to China’s traffic environment for consistently improving the safety of all road users as its first concern. To qualify for the license, Mercedes-Benz vehicles equipped with additional technical applications from Baidu Apollo undertook extensive testing at the National Pilot Zone (Beijing and Hebei) for Intelligent Mobility, with test drivers receiving rigorous automated driving training.
Mr. Hubertus Troska, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Greater China: “ Autonomous driving is a key pillar of our global C.A.S.E. strategy, and today’s announcement marks a major step forward for our innovation efforts here in China. We demonstrate our commitment to furthering the development of China’s automotive industry through continually expanding the scope of our local research and development. ‘Inspired by China, innovating for China’, we are dedicated to providing our customers here with technologies, products and services tailored to their needs.”
Prof. Dr. Hans Georg Engel, Head of Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China: “Backed by strong local partners, our R&D in China results in concrete innovations that allow us to achieve sustainable development today and into the future. This expanded research into automated driving will provide a strong base for developing further automated driving technology that addresses the challenges posed by China’s unique traffic environment, in order to further ensure that our technology and products offer the safety and convenience our customers expect.”
Daimler has been setting standards in vehicle safety throughout its long history of technical innovations. In particular, the Intelligent Drive assistance systems have major advancements on the road to autonomous driving. The Mercedes-Benz S‑Class and E‑Class sedans offer cutting-edge partially automated driving technology through Intelligent Drive. For instance, the new DIGITAL LIGHT technology increases safety through extending the visual support for driving assistance systems through sensors that detect other road users and adapt light distribution in all situations.
Daimler has also actively expanded local R&D in the fields of automated driving and vehicle safety, extending its cooperation with local partners. Together with Baidu, Daimler is engaging in research on safer solutions in automated driving for China through the open source Apollo autonomous driving platform. The goal is a deep understanding of the special requirements for automated driving in China, and to develop an early intuition regarding local technical trends. In addition, through their joint Research Center for Sustainable Transportation, Daimler and China’s renowned Tsinghua University since 2012 have supported research projects related to sustainable transportation in a China-specific road environment. With a focus on increasing safety for all road users, research conducted by the Center has included gathering data on typical traffic situations, research on ‘vision- based detection of vulnerable road users’ (VRU), and creating digital models of the East Asian human body proportions for simulation of crash tests.
About Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China
Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China is shaping mobility while continuing to develop products and services with the aim to best fit the needs of local consumers. Daimler’s local R&D efforts began in 2005 with the first localized Mercedes-Benz E‑C lass, and in 2014 the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development China Center in Beijing was opened, allowing the company to better learn the needs and tastes of Chinese customers. The number of designers and engineers is now almost three times larger than in 2014. Daimler will continue to invest in local R&D, enabling the company to emphasize C.A.S.E. topics and tailor them to the Chinese market.