Mercedes-Benz just announced that it completed the first autonomous cross country and inner city trip in its self-driving S 500 Intelligent Drive research vehicle! The vehicle was able to drive from Mannheim to Pforzheim, Germany without any intervention from a driver thanks to its near-production-standard sensor systems.

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Mercedes-Benz has promised to provide the full details of the cross-country trip tonight on the eve of the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show. Prior to the trip, self-driving cars have either been tested on closed roads or using complex technologies, but the S 500 Intelligent Drive uses near-production-standard technologies, very similar to those already available in the new E and S-Class, to drive itself.

Self-driving cars are expected to arrive soon, but Mercedes-Benz doesn’t see them as an attempt to ban the driver. Instead, the automaker sees them first and foremost as the next logical step to accident-free driving.

+ Mercedes-Benz