Tesla wants to show the way
Standstill instead of progress: the dream of autonomous driving has burst?
dpa/Matthias Balk/dpa At the BMW Development Center "Campus Autonomous Driving", the new technology kit is also being worked on for the Inext.
Site author Wolfgang Gomoll
It wasn’t long ago that some car manufacturers survive with wild announcements when you hardly have to reach into the wheel yourself in road traffic. The ADAC believes that the dream locks have given way to the automotive reality.
The surprise couldn’t be bigger. When the new Mercedes S-Class was presented to the general public for the first time a few weeks ago, most of them had expected that they would finally offer its customers the driver assistance level three. Means that the driver can keep taking their hands off the wheel on longer passages and devote themselves to other tasks in the car. But even the Mercedes S-Class of Generation W 223 takes only a tiny step and no longer offers more than an intelligent traffic jam assistant. In a first step, it only works for vehicles in advance, corresponding boundary lines and, above all, only up to 60 km / h. Even stranger: This function will only get the Mercedes S-Class in the second half of 2021 and only in Germany.
ADAC checks quality of the "Autobahn assistant"
Volvo and Mercedes in particular had delivered a head-to-head race in the person of Volvo CEO Hakan Samuelsson, Tesla boss Elon Musk and Daimler development board, when their own group products would get through the traffic without an accident. The displacements were supported by the fact that high-tech start-ups such as Mobileye, Nvidia, Waymo, Argo Ai or the large supply companies were geared into the overtaking lane and always announced new trial operations and were therefore on everyone’s lips as supposed drivers of innovation.
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Tesla without a top position in the practical test
The ADAC took a closer look at the current motorway assistants in a comparison. A distinction was made in the points Driver support, driver integration and Emergency assistant. For some surprisingly that the often praised Tesla assistant, installed in a Tesla Model 3 in the ADAC test, only ended up in the middle of the field. A better placement than sixth place prevented the poor driver integration. On the other hand, the Tesla Model 3 was in front of the pure driver support and there were also good grades and 95 out of 100 points first in the case of emergency assistance.
ADAC The manufacturers’ motorway assistants work so well
But in the overall classification, the Mercedes GLE won with 174 points just before the BMW 3 Series and a "very good" from ADAC. Behind it: The Audi Q8. All three German vehicles did not allow any real mistakes in the three disciplines of driver support, driver integration and emergency assistant and thus left vehicles such as the Ford Kuga or the VW Passat. Models like the Tesla Model 3, the Nissan Juke, Volvo V60, Renault Clio or Peugeot 2008. The last two models only got the grade sufficient after the tests.
You can’t take your hands off the wheel for more than 15 seconds
All models have meant that they were only classified as pure motorway assistants. Because even with models such as the winning trio, you can hardly take your hands off the wheel depending on the speed and traffic situation. From a driver assistance system of official level three with real driving support, all models are still far away and the added value in everyday life is so manageable.
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For many years, both car manufacturers and large and small suppliers have been on the road with high pressure in terms of automated driving and have indeed brought numerous test vehicles on the streets with new assistance systems. Many tests also take place on closed testing grounds around the world and many vehicles are now also on the road with a corresponding labeling of Tokyo, Munich, Los Angeles and Singapore. And yet in the next few years we will not get much more than intelligent motorway assistants who enter the new models.
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Audi A8: system available, but not unlocked
In itself, the current Audi A8 was already prepared for high -automated driving level three. The system has not yet been unlocked, although it is on the market for more than two years. A activation in the current generation is unlikely to take place. However, the Mercedes developers have promised that the new Mercedes S-Class could be unlocked in the medium term up to 100 or even more in the event of corresponding legal and technical requirements. But at the market launch at the end of this year there is no driver assistance level three, because the roof module with corresponding sensors and the fond camera in the rear should not be introduced until the model year 2022.
The five levels of autonomous driving
The terms autonomous and automated driving are often synonymous, there are important differences. These are the five levels of autonomous driving:
- Level 0: The driver controls the car completely.
- Level 1: There are assistance systems such as distance control or lane change warning, which only support the driver. This technology is widespread today down to the small car area.
- Level 2: This is the level at which modern vehicles of the upper middle class and upper class are already located. Sub -automated systems can take over certain functions, such as track guidance or partial automatic parking. Models such as the current Mercedes E-Class, Teslas Model S and Model X or the BMW 5 Series are already dominating the level 2. At Tesla, even more functions were temporarily unlocked, but they were put back after a few incidents.
- Level 3: This is the (high) automated driving, in which the driver must be able to intervene at any time, but may also turn to other things if the system is activated. With a warning time, the driver can be asked to take the lead again. Level 3 is developed as standard, for example in the Audi A8 .
- Level 4: At the fully automated driving the driver can even intervene if the system fails, but as a rule the car should take over everything. This level is currently being tested in practice by various car manufacturers and suppliers as well as tech groups.
- Level 5: At the actual autonomous driving is no longer required. You no longer need a steering wheel or other controls. The occupants become pure passengers.
In cordoned off areas such as parking garages, even level four should then be possible and so the S-Class of tomorrow should even be able to drive or park automatically at the push of a button on the smartphone. This is made possible by new cameras, intelligent sensors and, last but not least. Almost at the same time, this should happen with some vehicles in China from the middle of the year. Among other things, the Chinese premium manufacturer NIO has announced that he will switch from the current 4G technology of his models ES6 / ES8 to 5G technology, which many experts look at as a minimum requirement for a functioning driver assistance of levels three and four.
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Delay: the sensor technology simply does not come along
The reasons for the major delays are not only due to an unclear legal situation, especially in Europe, but in particular also because the sensors and the computing power of the on -board electronics do not yet meet the hard demands of everyday automotive and are simply too expensive. Not only the former BMW development board member Klaus FrOhlich or the CEO of the animal 1 supplier Continental Elmar Degenhardt had now stated that there could only be a breakthrough in autonomous vehicles after 2030. Other experts openly doubt that fully autonomous driving at level five would have no chance of real implementation. The problem remains that the current driver assistance systems only make it easier.
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Parking aid, spacing contemporary and emergency braking work as well as dead angle warning or lane departure assistant without any noteworthy problems. But otherwise you can leave your hands off the wheel on the country road or highway, before the networked level two assistants get out and you have to grab you again. Even the sub-autonomous driving functions of the current Tesla or Cadillac models (Super Cruise) on specified highways are nothing more than a level two plus driver assistance system. The same applies to Nissan, who wanted to ignite the next stage of the driver assistance system per pilot this summer.
5G technology could push autonomous driving
In the next two years, 5G will find the most new or technically referred vehicles. This applies not only to the electric BMW double from I4 / i5, but also to the ID family of Volkswagen, the E-Tron models from Audi or the new Porsche athletes, all of whom on the international markets from 2021/2022 roll. 5G technology, which enables data transmission and thus safety functions almost in real time, should be implemented particularly quickly for vehicles in Asia and the USA. Some smaller manufacturers from China are already promoting that their vehicles are currently traveling with 5G technology. However, the problem is not only the expensive on-board units with 5G antenna technology, but that the 5G network in many regions also only works very regionally because of the small radio honeycombs. If you are traveling on German roads and do not even see 3G or 4G in city centers or on motorways in your display, you may smile about that the 5G network required for the highly automated driving should be available in the next few years. It should therefore still take a while before we can take our hands off the wheel for a little longer – unless you treat yourself to a chauffeur.
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