Autopilot Showdown: Tesla P85D vs Mercedes E63S Wagon

Posted by: Bernard Winkelmann onOctober 20th, 2015

Triumphs
Distronic Plus with Steer Assist shines in two areas. The first is slow speed traffic where the cars in front of you are stopping and going and going in a relatively straight line. Secondly is on the highway where the lane markings are clear. It will maintain distance and keep you in your lane, all while cars shift around you.

The Tesla shines in its smoothness and ability to stay in the lane and, as such, drives more similarly to a human compared to the Mercedes system. No rocket launches or panic braking happened in the Tesla. And then, of course, the Tesla has a function that Mercedes does not at the moment. Lane changes. Lane changes blew me away. Signal left or right and the Tesla moves over. It checks for traffic and if another vehicle is in your way, it remains in its own lane. In tight traffic patterns it will wait for an opening and aggressively move into a space leaving a short distance to the car in front. Once the lane change is complete, it increases distance to the car in front based on the setting that has been requested. The car will not do a double lane change. You have to cancel the signal and then signal again in order to move over another lane.

Another aspect that shone was its ability to follow a car through a left turn. From a stop, the Autopilot was able to follow and turn 90 degrees. It didn’t like that the vehicle in front of us decided on a 3 lane change to get into the far right lane. The Tesla prompted for a human intervention as it isn’t designed to lane change without using the turn signals. It also is great on on ramps and off ramps. Much better than the Mercedes system where without human intervention, we would have crashed into a retaining wall. It can effectively handle long sweeping exit ramps and much tighter corners than the Mercedes.

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