<p>This autonomous vehicle, based on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, will visit all five continents as part of the Intelligent World Drive project. <em>Photo courtesy of Mercedes-Benz.</em></p>

VIDEO: Mercedes-Benz's Intelligent World Drive

As part of its Intelligent World Drive project, Mercedes-Benz is testing automated driving functions on all five continents using a vehicle based on the S-Class, the automaker said.

At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt, Germany, Daimler AG President and CEO Dieter Zetsche fired the starting gun to send the test vehicle off on its global test drive. The car will face a variety of complex traffic situations throughout the world. Destinations include China, Australia and South Africa. The final stop of the tour will be the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January.

The project’s mission is to gather information on the car’s performance under real traffic conditions around the world.

“Recording, processing and interpreting highly complex traffic situations is the key to safe automated and autonomous driving,” said Ola Källenius, a member of the Daimler AG management board responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz car development. “This is particularly demanding in dense urban traffic. This is why we are deliberately testing our automated driving functions in everyday driving situations in large cities. In this way not only do our vehicles become more intelligent, they also become safer.”

Mercedes-Benz continues to advocate for international standards that provide a legal framework for autonomous driving.