Mercedes-Benz will embark on an Australian test program aimed at accelerating the introduction of self-driving and safety features both locally and abroad.
Engineers from the brand's German headquarters have arrived in Australia to collect data that will be used to improve current technology while shaping the features of future models.
The team led by Mercedes safety veteran Jochen Haab will use a modified E-Class sedan to evaluate Australian conditions including traffic behaviour, road surfaces, signage, satellite navigation characteristics and more.
"Australia is an important market but also a market we can learn more about by gathering data from our current systems to help develop our technology for future Mercedes-Benz vehicles," Haab says.
"This opportunity allows us to further test in a new right-hand-drive market with good roads, signage, and varying conditions within close proximity of urban areas. For example, you can be in a congested traffic situation in the city, and then 30 minutes later be in a rural-type environment with varying conditions."
Horst von Sanden, managing director for Mercedes-Benz in the Australia Pacific region, says it is "an exciting time for our local team to be involved in the development of future Mercedes-Benz technologies".
"In the long term, this also increases the speed of implementing new safety systems into Australia," he says.
Lessons learned during the Australian mission are likely to be applied to next-generation semi-autonomous and self-driving cars. By teaching Mercedes' systems how to handle Australian roads, the company will make its cars feel more at home in the local environment.
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