$100,000 Mercedes-Benz Sedan Drives Itself

By Jason H. Harper - 2013-07-22T15:32:13Z

Photograph by Mercedes-Benz USA via Bloomberg

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Which means you can pay less attention, but you still need to be aware. If there are no lane markings on the road, the S550 will simply follow the car in front of you.

Fine, as long as that driver isn’t sending e-mails himself.

And while the Mercedes halts for stopped vehicles in your lane, it doesn’t recognize red traffic lights or stop signs.

This brings another question into focus: Do owners want to drive this car or to be driven? Optioned correctly, rear seats recline and have nifty folding tables ideal for laptops.

An especially trick optional suspension ($4,450) uses twin cameras to read the road ahead and adjust wheel travel accordingly. You can literally roll over a speed bump and not spill your coffee in the back.

Bringing us, finally, to the drive itself. Because in truth, actual driving seems to be the last thing on anyone’s mind. The car has more CPUs than NORAD in the 1980s, so it perhaps come as little surprise that the experience feels synthetic and distant.