Test drives on five continents started as a way to adapt more highly automated driving functions to national traffic and user practices. Alan Harman reports.

The Mercedes-Benz global autonomous test drive runs into some singular challenges in Australia. Turning to the right from the left-hand lane is one; flashing speed-limit traffic signs are another. Then there’s the problem of kangaroos hopping in and near roadways.

All are special challenges in the third leg of the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent World Drive, a five-month-long test of autonomous-driving functions on all five continents using a vehicle based on the German automaker’s S-Class. In Australia, the test vehicle is facing unique conditions and situations with automated test drives on highways, motorways and in the city of Melbourne.

A Mercedes-Benz spokesman tells WardsAuto in an email the S-Class did not encounter kangaroos – not live ones, anyway. “During the drive from Sydney to Melbourne we did regularly pass roadkill throughout the drive, which was noted by our engineers,” he says. This article first appeared in WardsAuto.