Mercedes Is STILL Running “Self-Driving Car” Ads For The NOT Self-Driving E-Class (UPDATED)
These ads need to be pulled before Mercedes gets its own Joshua Brown.
Just when you thought the saga of Mercedes-Benz claiming the 2017 E-Class was a “Self-Driving Car” was over, well, it’s not over.
The saga began with early ads for the new E-Class stating “Introducing A Self-Driving Car from a very Self-Driven Company.” As I pointed out in my review of Mercedes’ DrivePilot, in no universe does the Mercedes system make it a Self-Driving Car, or anywhere near Level 4 Autonomy. Mercedes DrivePilot is no more than ADAS, and nowhere near Tesla’s state-of-the-art Autopilot system, which is at or slightly above Level 2.
This was followed up by Consumer Reports calling on the FTC to investigate Mercedes-Benz for misleading advertising.
Mercedes-Benz wisely backed down, and asked that I re-review the system on its merits. I did so. As I said, Drivepilot is ADAS. The car is terrific, BUT IT IS NOT A SELF-DRIVING CAR.
And so the story of the unfortunate ads should have gone away, and with it the potential liability of E-class buyers growing overconfident in DrivePilot and getting killed like Joshua Brown. The risk of having an accident using DrivePilot is theoretically greater than on Tesla’s Autopilot, since the former is demonstrably inferior.
And then I got the October issue of Wired and saw the back cover:
BAD Mercedes-Benz. BAD. I suggested someone on the advertising side be punished for this the last time. This is really misleading. This is really irresponsible.
(UPDATED: 9/29/16 Mercedes has stated that this ad was run in error, and that they are in touch with Wired about this. Points to MB for acting immediately to correct this.)
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The War For Autonomous Driving, Part Deux: The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
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Why I Plan to Reassess the Mercedes-Benz DrivePilot System
It didn’t fare well in my head-to-head comparo with Tesla’s Autopilot, but Mercedes contends I missed the point of the system. In the high-stakes world of semi-autonomous tech, a deeper dive is in order.
Consumer Reports Calls on FTC to Investigate Mercedes-Benz For ‘Misleading’ Self-Driving Car Ads
Let’s dissect the ads in question, and where Merc went wrong.