What is automated driving?

* Robots test Mercedes safety systems * Driven to within 2cm of planned route * Safer and more accurate...

What is automated driving?

Mercedes' Dr Hans-Peter Schoener explains: 'Automated driving is about handing over control to computer technology.

'Computer-controlled robots are better than humans at performing boring and possibly dangerous tasks. They are able to repeat the same actions thousands of times and deliver comparable results.'

Mercedes fits a computer and robot into a standard production car, which can then steer the car and control its accelerator and brakes.

Engineers can then programme a route around the company's test track close to its Stuttgart base. The route is downloaded to the car's on-board computer, allowing the robot to 'drive' the route as many times as required. Satellite technology ensures the car never deviates more than 2cm from the programmed route.

Mercedes can test up to five cars at a time on its track, driving at speeds of up to 43mph, over jumps, around cones or through intersections.