Mercedes-Benz started its “Intelligent World Drive” at the Frankfurt International Motor Show (IAA) in September to adapt more highly automated driving functions to national user and traffic practices. After the start in Germany, the test vehicle based on the new production S‑Class is now under test in the heavy traffic and exposed to the special national features in the Chinese megalopolis of Shanghai. The focus of the test drives in Shanghai is on assessing the driving behavior in extremely heavy traffic with its different participants, as well as on infrastructure peculiarities.
The high density of cars, two-wheelers, three-wheelers and pedestrians and the associated traffic behavior in Chinese cities pose different requirements on automated driving functions than in Europe or the US. In addition, there are road signs with Chinese characters and lane markings, which in China have different or even multiple meanings. For example, short white lines, known around the world as pedestrian crossings, can also be found on motorways. However, they don’t denote a pedestrian crossing, but the minimum distance between vehicles. The sensors must be able to recognize this and interpret it correctly. The same is true for speed limits, which can differ from one lane to another. Another challenge: Parking spaces come in many different shapes and frequently are full of obstacles that are hard to detect for sensors.
Aaron is an automotive journalist living in Wyoming, USA. His background includes technology, mechanics, commercial vehicles, and new vehicle evaluations. Aaron is a member of several automotive media groups and writes for many well-known publications.