Series production of the 2018 W222 Mercedes-Benz S-Class facelift, which premiered at Auto Shanghai in April, has begun at the automaker’s Sindelfingen plant in Germany.

To mark the occasion, a pilot test for the car – which will make its market debut in July – was carried out, in which the car drove itself off the production line. An S 560 4Matic finished in Obsidian Black metallic drove independently off the final assembly line, without a driver at the wheel, and travelled around 1.5 kilometres by itself to the loading area within the plant.

The mule was equipped with additional equipment on the driver’s side roof area (as can be seen in the video), but essentially travesrsed the route with the aid of the car’s cameras, ultrasonic sensors and radar, working with newly-developed and powerful software, which helped accelerate and brake the S-Class independently around the tight confines of the production floor.

The pilot programme will explore the possible use of the system for series production use and its potential to replace the current system of using production staff to move cars from the assembly halls to the loading car parks, where a shuttle service is needed to then bring personnel back to their starting point.