What it’s like to experience Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot automated system

It was like a scene from a science fiction film.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan expertly steered, braked and accelerated on Southern California’s Interstate 10 as I flipped through the pages of the Los Angeles Times, oblivious to the traffic encircling us.

I had deliberately relinquished all driving duties to the car’s computer. Instead of monitoring the road, I was free to turn my attention to “other activities inside the vehicle,” my passenger, Mercedes-Benz engineer Lucas Bolster, reminded me…

The EQS did not tailgate, brake hard or honk agitatedly at merging vehicles. How polite and computer-like. Yet the same question kept tugging at me as I daydreamed out the window: Why do we need this technology at all? Are humans really that awful at driving?

Automakers “dramatically overstate that humans are bad drivers to sell car technology,” Phil Koopman, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who has been working on self-driving car safety for more than 25 years, told ABC News. “Just 8 to 9% of vehicle fatalities are caused by distracted driving.”

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