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Monday, August 4, 2014

Hacking the Mercedes S Class Active Lane Assist with a Soda Can

As reported by Road and Track: This is, without a doubt, a really stupid thing to actually try. So don't. It is also, without a doubt, awesome to see it in action. It proves what we knew all along: Active Lane Assist is basically a hands-off autonomous cruise system if you disable the safety timeout. So watch, be amazed, but don't be stupid enough to try it yourself:

Normally, ALA requires you to put a hand on the wheel after a certain amount of time, otherwise the system disengages. And it only works when lane markings are clear and conditions are clear enough for the sensors to see the road. But apparently ALA can't distinguish between a human hand and a bottle of soda duct-taped to the wheel, which is both awesome and troubling.

Seriously, don't be stupid and try this. But if you've driven a Mercedes-Benz with Active Lane Assist, you already have an inkling that it was capable of this. Seeing it in action shows how close we are to a hands-free commute—not in some far-off Google Car future, but right now. Incredible.