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The race has begun for car companies everywhere to manufacture an autonomous car. The concept is simple, but the execution has been difficult. Everybody cannot wait for Mercedes to release their Class- E car for the world to see.

What has so far only been shown in test situations will be available as of about March next year, when Daimler’s new model goes on sale. The technology packing the vehicle shows how quickly automated driving systems have advanced since 1998, when the Mercedes S class first featured cruise control that could adjust its speed to follow a car in front.

“Innovations in this area are coming thick and fast,” Thomas Weber, Daimler’s head of development, said in his office in Sindelfingen, near Stuttgart, Germany. “While we don’t want to feed wrong expectations such as sleeping in the car, autonomous driving is set to become a reality much more quickly than the public thinks.”

Self-driving systems are among many areas in which Mercedes is working to gain an edge on rivals Audi and BMW. Currently No. 3 in luxury-car sales, Daimler is fighting to take the lead in the segment by 2020.

It’s also testing the limits of what’s allowed under current regulations, which in most places require the driver to be in a position to control the vehicle at all times.

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The self-driving car looks to be the future of safer driving. Accidents due to road rage, speeding and distracted driving could drop drastically thanks to this new technology.

Self-driving cars could generate billions of dollars a year in revenue from mobile Internet services and products, even if occupants spend only a fraction of their free time on the web, according to a new study by McKinsey & Company.

The study, released Thursday, also projects that widespread adoption of self-driving cars could lead to a 90 percent reduction in U.S. vehicle crashes, with a potential savings of nearly $200 billion a year from significantly fewer injuries and deaths.

In addition, the McKinsey study warns of several risks to established companies, including vehicle manufacturers, dealers and even insurance companies.

McKinsey projects that future owners of self-driving cars could save up to 50 minutes a day, some of which is likely to be spent surfing the web.

The consulting firm estimates the additional free time in the car could generate about $5.6 billion a year in digital revenue for each additional minute that vehicle occupants spend on the internet – as much as $140 billion if half their free time in the car, or roughly 25 minutes, is devoted to daily web surfing and shopping.

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