Mercedes-Benz's chief of R&D Thomas Weber has announced plans to launch a self-driving, autonomous car before the next-gen S-Class which is due in 2021.

Mercedes-Benz's chief of R&D Thomas Weber has announced plans to launch a self-driving, autonomous car before the next-gen S-Class which is due in 2021.

We assume it will be offered for the mid-cycle refresh of the S-Class programmed for 2017. In an interview given to Auto Express during the launch of the 2014 S-Class, Weber declared "we can do it now, but there are rules in place that we have to accept."

He added the 2014 S-Class' adaptive cruise control system has "opened the door" to autonomous tech as it can automatically keep a distance between the car in front and it will also steer on its own to keep the car in lane, as long as the driver is touching the steering wheel.

Weber says Mercedes-Benz already has "laboratory cars" testing autonomous technology and a production model will arrive "earlier than eight years."

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