Mercedes-Benz is a German manufacturer of automobiles, buses, coaches, and trucks. Mercedes-Benz is a division of its parent company, Daimler AG. The name first appeared in 1926 but traces its origins to Daimler's 1901 Mercedes and to Karl Benz's 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen, widely regarded as the first automobile.
Mercedes-Benz traces its origins to Karl Benz's creation of the first petrol-powered car, the Benz Patent Motorwagen, patented in January 1886 and Gottlieb Daimler and engineer Wilhelm Maybach's conversion of a stagecoach by the addition of a petrol engine later that year. The Mercedes automobile was first marketed in 1901 by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft. The first Mercedes-Benz brand name vehicles were produced in 1926, following the merger of Karl Benz's and Gottlieb Daimler's companies into the Daimler-Benz company. Mercedes-Benz has introduced many technological and safety innovations that later became common in other vehicles. Mercedes-Benz is one of the most well-known and established automotive brands in the world, and is also the world's oldest automotive brand still in existence today. For information relating to the famous three-pointed star, see under the title Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft including the merger into Daimler-Benz.
In the 1980s, Mercedes built the world's first robot car, together with the team of Professor Ernst Dickmanns at Bundeswehr University Munich. Partially encouraged by Dickmanns' success, in 1987 the European Union's EUREKA programme initiated the Prometheus Project on autonomous vehicles, funded to the tune of nearly €800 million. A culmination point was achieved in 1995, when Dickmanns' re-engineered autonomous S-Class Mercedes took a long trip from Munich in Bavaria to Copenhagen in Denmark, and back. On highways, the robot achieved speeds exceeding 175 km/h (109 mph) (permissible in some areas of the German Autobahn). The car's abilities has heavily influenced robot car research and funding decisions worldwide.