Mercedes Benz Intelligent World Drive On Five Continents – Video
The Intelligent World Drive also underlines just how important the international harmonisation of the legal framework for automated and autonomous driving and its infrastructure is, in particular of lane markings and traffic signs. “The Intelligent World Drive makes it clear that autonomous driving requires global development activities and test drives” says Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. “Automated and autonomous vehicles need international learning material from actual road traffic in order to understand traffic situations and to be prepared for different scenarios.”
Intelligent World Drive provides an insight into the complexity of global challenges
With the test vehicle on the basis of a semi-automated S‑Class test drives were carried out in Germany, China, Australia, South Africa and the USA. The differences in the countries give a small insight into the complexity of global challenges in the development of automated and autonomous driving functions. In particular the national particularities in terms of infrastructure, traffic regulations and the conduct of other road users place very different requirements on the sensors and algorithms of the vehicle. It also becomes apparent just how important high-resolution maps could become for the development of higher automation. Daimler AG is thus involved in the map service HERE and is working on faster implementation and updating of even more precise navigation data.
Different traffic signs and road markings worldwide
When it comes to traffic signs for speed limits alone there are many different variants. In the USA, for example, their shape and size are fundamentally different from the usual round metal signs in Europe and China. In Australia, electronic displays with variable speed limits are used. Special displays indicate the current speed limit. They are equipped with bright white LEDs, a red LED ring and a yellow LED warning lamp and can also depict simple symbols and letters as well as speed limits. In some cases they are positioned next to one another and can change their display within a short time. This demands more of, for instance, the Multi Purpose Camera (MPC) and the quality of digital maps. Speed limits or even data which only apply at certain times of day are equally as challenging.
A prime example of country-specific traffic signs and rules is the “Hook Turn” sign in Melbourne city centre. It controls the procedure of turning off from roads which are also used by trams. If you want to turn off right over the tram tracks in this country with left-side traffic you have to move to the outer left lane and first let the traffic straight ahead and the tram pass before you are allowed to turn off right. The junction can only be crossed if your own traffic light is on red and that of the cross traffic switches to green. The sensors and algorithms of an automated and autonomous vehicle must be in a position to detect the “Hook Turn” sign, to comprehend the context of the complex turning procedure and take other road users into account.
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