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EXCLUSIVE: Autonomous car of the future quietly testing on Australian roads

The cars of tomorrow may be able to drive themselves, thanks – in part – to Mercedes-Benz technology currently undergoing development on public Australian roads.

EXCLUSIVE: German car giant Mercedes-Benz is quietly testing the next generation of autonomous driving technology on public roads in Australia, Drive understands.

A modified Mercedes-Benz S-Class been spied several times near Sydney over the past three months, and was last week snapped at Emu Plains train station.

The flagship luxury sedan appears to be fitted with a range of extra lidar and radar sensors on its grille, roof, rear bumper, front facia, and side panels.

A spokesperson for Mercedes-Benz confirmed it is using the vehicle for a range of international trials, in cooperation with US software firm Nvidia.

“The specific car you have provided photos of is part of a worldwide fleet of data collection vehicles currently testing our next generation [tech],” the spokesperson said.

“Automated driving systems, such as those offered in our driving assistance package, must be able to handle a large number of situations reliably and safely.

“The development of such systems is complex … With such test drives, the local information about infrastructure and traffic habits is collected.

“Country-specific peculiarities in infrastructure, traffic rules and the behaviour of other road users place very different demands on the sensors and algorithms of the vehicle.”

The standard Mercedes-Benz S-Class already features some of the most advanced driving tech available today, and is able to steer, accelerate, and brake by itself using inbuilt sensors.

With the addition of least 12 extra lidar and radar sensors, this suggests the modified vehicle is likely trialing advanced systems and near-complete autonomy.

Drive understands the car is not currently permitted to drive unoccupied on public roads, and a qualified engineer remains behind the wheel at all times.

It’s currently unclear how many other cars Mercedes-Benz is currently testing Down Under, however the brand says it currently has 175 research vehicles stationed across the globe.

Most large manufacturers – including Toyota, General Motors, BMW, and Tesla – are developing some form of ‘self-driving’ system, however none are yet legal for consumer use in any major country.

Autonomous tech has faced several roadblocks in recent years, with safety, legal, ethical, and accountability concerns preventing widespread roll-out.

Earlier this year Mercedes-Benz announced it would take legal responsibility for the safety of its own vehicles, as part of a bid to legalise new testing in the USA.

The post EXCLUSIVE: Autonomous car of the future quietly testing on Australian roads appeared first on Drive.

Toyota Fortuner & Mahindra Thar get stuck in slush: Rescued

Off-roading is slowly becoming popular among SUV owners in India. There are several SUV owners group that are now organising such off-road trips so that SUV owners can explore the capabilities of their vehicles and explore new places. Most of the time such trips are organised in groups and there are experienced drivers and instructors lead it. Getting stuck while off-roading is part of the fun and we have seen several videos of SUVs getting stuck while off-roading. Here we have a video where a Toyota Fortuner and Mahindra Thar gets stuck in slush. Both the SUVs were rescued later.

The video has been uploaded by Small Town Rider on their YouTube channel. In this video, vlogger and his friends were out on a off-road expedition. There were many other SUV owners with them in the group. They had stopped at a spot where there was an extremely slippery mud pit. The SUV owners attempted to drive through the section. There was grass growing on the slush and it looked like the SUVs can easily move through it. However, all there calculations were proved wrong when a Toyota Fortuner tried driving through it.

Also read: Buying a pre-owned Mahindra Thar is better than buying a new one: 5 reasons

The Fortuner driver was not carrying momentum and approached the obstacle at a very low speed. The moment its front tyre hit the mud, the car started losing traction. The SUV move ahead and after moving few more inches, the SUV got completely stuck in the slush. All the wheels had lost traction and were spinning freely. A current generation Mahindra Thar with recovery rope and shackles pulled the Toyota Fortuner out from the slush.

The Fortuner driver wanted to attempt the section again. This time he was carrying more speed while approaching the section. The SUV went in smoothly and almost at middle, it completely lost momentum and traction. Once again, the Mahindra Thar came to the rescue and pulled the Toyota Fortuner out. After the unsuccessful attempts, the Thar which was rescuing the Fortuner from the slush attempted to go over the same section. The only difference was that the driver took a different approach. He approached the slushy section through the other side.

Everything was looking good for the SUV. It came down the slope carrying good speed and hit the slushy section. The dirt in the pit was so thick that even the off-road spec tyres on the Mahindra Thar were losing grip. The Mahindra Thar was making progress slowly but after a point, the SUV got completely beached. There was no way that Mahindra Thar was coming out from that on its own. The Fortuner was then called for help and it pulled the Mahindra Thar out of the slush. The mud was really sticky and it was clearly visible in the video. After this vlogger and their friends wrapped up the event and were on their way to the place where they started. As they were going back, one of the Toyota Fortuners in the group lost the track and got stuck in another mud pit. The older generation Mahindra Thar in which the vlogger was travelling pulled it out.

Also read: 10 DC Design cars & how they look in the REAL world: Maruti Swift to Mahindra XUV500

The post Toyota Fortuner & Mahindra Thar get stuck in slush: Rescued first appeared on Cartoq.
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