After making its world premiere in the middle of April at the Auto Shanghai motor show, Mercedes-Benz has finally commenced production of its new S-Class at the company’s Sindelfingen factory in Germany.
Since the S-Class is no ordinary car, Mercedes decided it’s the perfect opportunity to evaluate the prospects of an industry-first for car production. An S 560 4MATIC in obsidian black metallic drove independently off the final assembly line, without a driver at the wheel. The vehicle then drove automatically approximately 1.5 kilometres to the loading area within the plant.
In order to ensure that the car reached its destination reliably, newly developed and patented technology was used. Cameras, together with radar and ultrasonic sensors work in conjunction with powerful software to accelerate and brake the S-Class independently and ensure that it stays reliably on track.
The Sindelfingen plant is currently piloting the possible use of the system for series production and investigating its further potential. The finished vehicles are currently driven from the assembly halls to the loading car parks by members of staff. A shuttle service then brings the employees back to their starting point. The pilot test provides an opportunity to gather practical experience for the future of “autonomous driving” on public roads, which can be used in for further development.
“The new Mercedes-Benz S-Class sets worldwide standards for safety, comfort, connectivity, and is on the road to automated driving. The S-Class’s independent journey from the production line to the plant’s loading area shows the future of how we will be able to use driver assistance systems in production.” We are taking the next step in the digitalisation of our complete value-added chain. We are systematically applying Industry 4.0 in all areas from development and production through to the customer. Perhaps, in the not too distant future, a Mercedes-Benz will even find its own way from the production line to its new owner,” says Markus Schäfer, Member of the Divisional Board of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Production and Supply Chain.
The Mercedes-Benz plant in Sindelfingen is the most traditional vehicle plant of Daimler AG. As a lead plant, it will control the production of the S- and E-Class series and will be further developed into a competence center for electric vehicles of the upper and luxury class in the global production network of Mercedes-Benz Cars. Together with the central production organization of Mercedes-Benz Cars, the plant employs more than 25,000 people. Mercedes-Benz manufactures the E-Class (Sedan and Estate), the CLS and the CLS Shooting Brake, the S-Class (Sedan, Coupé and Cabriolet), the Mercedes Maybach and the Mercedes AMG GT. In Sindelfingen’s Mercedes-Benz customer center, around 200 vehicles are delivered every day.