Mercedes S-class: Closest thing yet to a self-driving car

The luxury automaker's latest top-of-the-line car can cruise down the highway almost entirely on its own.

Handing over (some) control

mercedes benz s class interior console

Now, the new S-Class doesn't literally "drive itself" but it almost certainly could if the engineers at Mercedes had wanted it to.

When you're on the highway, the S-Class will automatically maintain a safe distance behind the car ahead. By itself, that's nothing new. Lots of cars these days have so-called Active Cruise Control. Like some other automakers, Mercedes' system functions even in stop-and-go city traffic.

But the S-Class takes things even farther than most. The new S-Class actually steers to stay in its lane, even around curves. You do have to keep your hands on the steering wheel, though. Take them off for more than a couple of seconds and the car gives control back to you. Mercedes doesn't want you forgetting that you're still in charge.

- Last updated July 26 2013 01:25 PM ET

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