Autonomous driving is on the tips of all of our tongues at any given moment, as it is the most likely “next generation” step in the automotive world. One of the key components of perfecting automated driving is the introduction of car-to-car-to-object communication – communication between cars and traffic-control devices. Think of it as a Facebook for the automotive world. Every car needs to update its status and plans to all of the other cars and the traffic controls “in its network” (in the area), so that they know how to plan accordingly.
Sure automated driving works okay via a series of sensors, but that only allows so much. This social networking allows car to plan routes, avoid traffic, avoid accidents, and so forth, ahead of time. Germany has taking the driver’s seat in this matter, by introducing the Safe Intelligent Mobility – Testfield Germany (sim TD) - which allows controlled testing of these communication systems. Mercedes-Benz is one maker that will provide Germany with cars for this testing program and has now chosen to do some of its own car-to-car-to-object testing at its own facility in Palo Alto, California. During its infancy, this system will utilize the network of cars to sense a line of stopped cars over the peak of a hill or around a blind turn, helping prevent a rear-end collision because the driver and automated sensing devices couldn’t see the stopped cars.
In the long run, this system may end up being the basis that automated driving on a regular basis spawns from. Using sensors alone to eliminate the driver’s need to control a car is pretty dangerous, as the sensors can only see what the human eye can see. This automotive network, on the other hand, allows the car to see things well in advance, making automated driving the safest driving method. That sounds like a good plan to us.
We’ll keep you updates as testing continues.
What can we say, we love free stuff! Mercedes is getting in on the giveaway fun now by offering a trip to the acclaimed AMG Driving Academy in Fontana, California. All you have to do is head over to Mercedes’ Facebook page – yes, it’s always Facebook – “Like” the sweepstakes photo, and then fill out an entry form.
According to the rules, you and a friend will attend the “Basic Training” session, which lasts just a day. This session covers all of the basic skills needed to race or just drive in normal, everyday situations. It teaches you how to handle oversteer and understeer, slalom courses, lane changing, braking and collision avoidance, and you get to ride with a professional driver.
In addition to the driving school, you get a coach-class flight for two people, a two-night stay in a “standard” hotel with double occupancy, and transportation between the hotel, airport, and Driving Academy. What’s really cool is that Mercedes is also giving you an extra $3,271.21 to help offset the taxes you will incur by winning this grand prize.
The dates for the trip are October 26th through 28th, so mark those days on the calendar, and the big drawing is on or around July 16th.
So, if you have ever wanted to learn how to drive like the big boys, you can get an entry-level lesson on Mercedes’ dime, while whipping around a corporate-provided luxury racecar. We have a sneaking suspicion that the car you get to learn in is not a C63 AMG, but it’ll be a blast either way.
As always, the Grand Prix of Monaco provided a fairly spectacular showing, likely one of the few in this year’s F1 series. As most would expect, Circuit de Monaco lap-time record holder and five-time winner, Michael Schumacher took the pole position, but officials forced him back five grid positions after he caused a collision during qualifying. With the technical nature of Monaco, that pole position is very important and Schumacher’s penalty was an ominous sign that this would not be a good race, as he retired due to fuel issues 63 laps in.
Schumacher’s penalty propelled Red Bull’s Mark Webber into the pole position. Webber held onto that pole position, despite a lead change during a pit stop, and took home the checkered flag on a rain-coated Circuit de Monaco. As we said in our preview of the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco, this race had some serious overall points influence, as the leaders were only separated by a few points each.
This victory for Webber places propels him up to a second place tie with Sebastian Vettel at 73 points and puts Fernando Alonso, who finished third, in the points lead at 76. An impressive run by Nico Rosberg placed him in second, just behind Webber, proving that his wide margin of victory in China was not just a one-time deal. This superb finish by Rosberg jumps him up two slots to fifth place overall.
From the looks of it, this season is shaping up to be a rather close points race with a few new faces near the top. Unfortunately, the leader board, for the most part, looks identical to the 2011 and 2010 seasons. The lack of parody in F1 has really been its Achilles heel in recent history. An overall points victory by Nico Rosberg would certainly be a push in the right direction for F1, so we’ll keep a close eye on his performance.
Click past the jump to see the complete placement board for the 2012 Grand Prix of Monaco and the overall points standings.
Rarely is something both the slowest and the hardest at the same time, but that all goes out the window when you’re talking about the Grand Prix at Monaco. For the majority of the F1 season, the drivers get to open up their cars a good bit. At Monaco, those chances to go wide open are limited to about three, as there are only a three extended straightaways on the track.
Besides those three straights, drivers get to deal with a plethora of intense twists and blind turns that require great care to negotiate correctly. These tight turns all amount to Monaco being the lowest average speed course on the F1 circuit, and arguably the hardest one on the circuit.
Well, the 70th running of this ultra-technical road course is due to start on May 27, 2012 and we’re going to provide a quick preview of what’s to come.
Click past the jump to read all about the Grand Prix at Monaco
There will come a time in your life when you will have to think twice before getting behind the wheel of a car. We’re not just talking about when you’ve had one drink too many - even though that is a viable reason to refrain from driving - but when your body just can’t handle the drive anymore. Apparently, this 60 year-young lady is nowhere near that stage in her life because she hasn’t given any impression that she’s gonna quit drag racing anytime soon! Yep, we said drag racing!
YouTube member, 1320video, was recently at the TX2K12 when he saw this 60-year-old woman in her modified, 11-second Mercedes-Benz C 63 AMG. She was quick to share a number of details about her car before showing off her amazing driving skills and joining her husband in his Dodge Viper! Now that’s a pretty passionate family! We certainly have to admire that! Enjoy the video and let us know what you think in the comments section below!
Some test drivers spend all day testing high-performance cars, so their skills are simply bar none. This, unfortunately, does not prevent accidents from happening and sometimes these accidents prove fatal. This is the case with two Mercedes-Benz test drivers who were killed in a terrible accident involving a McLaren SLR.
According to the German magazine, Bild.de, the two drivers were evaluating a four-year-old Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren when things got a little out of control. The two drivers were testing the supercar on the German Autobahn and during the five mile stretch of road that has zero speed limits, the car was pushed to its limits. According to the police officers, the drivers hit a top speed of about 186 mph before catapulting to a height of 10 meters, then hitting a tree and sailing an additional 35 meters, crashing down a steep slope. Both the driver and the passenger were ejected from the car and died instantly.
This is a sad day for the automotive world, but even more so for the young families left behind. Our condolences go out to them.
Following the debacle of a first episode for Top Gear USA, The Car Show comes at us again with hilarity and automotive variety in their third episode of the season.
In this episode, Adam Corolla (comedian and car enthusiast), Dan Neil (automotive columnist for The Wall Street Journal), John Salley (4-time NBA Champion and actor), and Matt Farah (SmokingTire.com) take part in a number of segments that made us laugh at loud, literally. Mixed in with the good times and "Lambo-quality comedy," the guys take part in a test comparing the automated driving versus actual driving in a 2007 BMW 328i sedan, a comparison of the Audi R8 and the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, and an interview with racing legend, Pete Brock.
The fun doesn’t stop there as the boys go through their 0-60 and Adam’s America segments, as well as a trip to North Carolina for some dirt track racing.
Hit the jump for details on The Car Show: Season 1 Episode Three.
At first glance, one may think that Top Gear has gone and cloned the Stig, but these white racing suits belong to people who are a little less secret and a lot more purpose driven. The stars in this video are the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows display team and, after watching this video, we think even the Stig could learn a little something from these guys.
The Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows team handle their job with precision stunt driving, blistering pace, and mind-boggling skill as they push Mercedes models to their limit on the track. In this video, the Silver Arrows are putting Mercedes’ V8 powered vehicles to the test, making it a must watch for anyone who is a little AMG-obsessed.
If for nothing else, watch the video just for the sweet sounds pouring out of the V8 engines. You will absolutely not be disappointed. And if you live in the UK, there’s a bonus. Click here for a chance to watch the Silver Arrows stunt team perform for free!
Mercedes is not going to sit idly by and let Volkswagen’s “Junior” have all of the fame in terms of the autonomous driver. No, they have, instead, built an autonomous vehicle of their own with testing done on their very own closed track. Their vehicle doesn’t have a name, but it can perform safety-critical driving maneuvers with reflexes that will make any human driver look like a tortoise. These maneuvers are performed on the closed test track with Mercedes engineers who are just ecstatic that they do not have to be behind the wheel when performing dangerous maneuvers. As it was before, the safety of the engineers and test drivers was at risk when they had to perform these tests themselves.
Mercedes’ “Automated driving” is the next step up from the current intelligent assistance systems that allow assistance with specific problem areas such as lane changes, fatigue or poor visibility at night. The newest advancement with autonomous driving will allow for even greater assistance to the vehicle’s driver.
“With future driver assistance systems, we will be able to address even more complex traffic situations and therefore to ease the dangers of further accident hot spots – like intersections,” says Prof. Bharat Balasubramanian, Head of Product Innovations & Process Technologies at Corporate Research and Advanced Engineering Daimler AG. “Our new automated driving test methods help us to fulfill the extremely high quality and operational safety demands placed on our safety systems more efficiently.”
Hit the jump for the full story and press release.