- Mercedes-Benz becomes the first automaker to receive certification from the state of California for offering Level 3 conditionally autonomous driving in standard-production vehicles.
- The Drive Pilot system, available as an option on the 2024 S-Class and 2024 EQS models, allows drivers to experience hands-off driving on select parts of the motorway at speeds up to 40 mph, while maintaining the requirement for the driver to be ready to take control at any moment.
Mercedes-Benz is the first automaker to be certified by the state of California to offer standard-production vehicles equipped with Level 3 conditionally autonomous driving. Essentially, this means that under certain conditions, some Mercedes models can be driven in the largest US car market without interaction between the driver and the machine. However, the driver must still be prepared to take over if the system fails.
The Drive Pilot system from Mercedes-Benz will be offered as an option on the 2024 S-Class and 2024 EQS models, with the first vehicles equipped with the technology likely to be delivered to customers in late 2023. The same system made the German carmaker the first in the US to offer Level 3 automatic driving in January of this year, when Drive Pilot was certified for use in Nevada.
“Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot is the only SAE Level 3 system in the world with internationally valid type approval.” It is built on a solid foundation and sets new industry standards. Drive Pilot employs a very advanced vehicle architecture built on redundancy and a plethora of sensors to provide pleasant and safe conditionally automated driving. “The certification by the authorities in California and Nevada confirms that redundancy is the safe and thus the right approach,” says Markus Schäfer, Mercedes’ CTO responsible for development and procurement.
If you’re new to the world of self-driving cars, here’s what it all means. If you’re driving a 2024 S-Class or 2024 EQS equipped with Drive Pilot, you’ll be able to take your hands off the steering wheel and focus on other things, such as applications on the vehicle’s centre display. This will be achievable on select parts of motorway with speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. The driver, on the other hand, must be prepared to assume full charge of the vehicle at any time.
Mercedes hopes to develop the system in the future and make it capable of speeds of up to 80 mph. Companies such as Nvidia and Luminar are assisting the vehicle maker by offering various components for the Drive Pilot. Mercedes also intends to expand the system’s availability to other states in the United States and other parts of the world.