Hey! Who’s driving that car?

    Mercedes-AMG has programmed a GT 4-door Coupe to autonomously drive around a test track at speeds of up to 170km/h, in a bid to show off its advanced driver assistance systems.

    As shown in a YouTube video uploaded by Mercedes-AMG, this high-speed autonomous driving technology isn’t available on public roads yet.

    This is unlike the Mercedes-Benz SAE Level 3 Drive Pilot system that’s currently approved for German road use in the S-Class and all-electric EQS.

    Controlled primarily by a high-precision GPS tracking system with motion sensors in the car, the Mercedes-AMG engineers have added various computers to make this vehicle fully autonomous on the mapped, pre-defined track.

    The vehicle is observed remotely and information is sent to the vehicle through a special interface on the dashboard. The GT 4-door Coupe can also commence autonomous laps of the track with a click of a mouse.

    This high-speed autonomous driving system is able to control the vehicle’s speed, steering, engine and braking.

    At the beginning of the track segment there are no drivers in the autonomous GT 4-door Coupe, but the presenters hop in after a few hot laps.

    During the few laps the car is being autonomously driven the presenters aren’t touching any of the vehicle’s controls and it’s being monitored remotely by an engineer.

    One of the Mercedes-AMG driving assistance systems engineer called this autonomous driving system “very reproducible”, as in the YouTube video the car was able to clock the exact same lap time every lap.

    This isn’t the first time an automaker has done autonomous driving on a race track. Audi has previously held an event in 2015, where it drove an autonomous RS7 around the Sonoma Raceway in California.

    The Toyota Research Institute (TRI) has also programmed a customised GR Supra to autonomously drift around obstacles on a closed track.

    TRI says the autonomous drifting technology is able to calculate a new trajectory every 20th of a second, keeping the car balanced as it goes around the track.

    Mercedes-Benz has recently proclaimed it’s taking full legal responsibility when its SAE Level 3 Drive Pilot autonomous driving system is active.

    Road & Track previously reported Mercedes-Benz is liable for any accidents caused when Drive Pilot is engaged, regardless of whether the driver is paying attention or not.

    The German automaker has confirmed it’s seeking approval to use the system on California and Nevada highways below 64km/h (40mph) by the end of 2022.

    This particular system is best used in heavy traffic or congested situations, where it’s designed to take the strain off drivers.

    MORE: Toyota develops autonomous drifting technology
    MORE: Mercedes accepts legal liability for Level 3 Drive Pilot system

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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