Mercedes-Benz Gets World’s First Approval for Level 3 Self-Driving Cars: What Does It Mean?

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Move on Tesla Autopilot and GM Super Cruise. German automaker Mercedes-Benz is the first automaker in the world to obtain internationally valid regulatory approval for the production of vehicles capable of autonomous or “automatically conditional” driving at level 3.

Following the opening of the road traffic law for level 3 systems in 2017, Germany became the first country to create a legal basis for the use of level 3 driving aids, and Mercedes- Benz is quick to get started with its updated Drive Pilot advanced driver assistance system. system.

“With this milestone we are once again proving our pioneering work in automated driving and also initiating a paradigm shift,” said Markus Schäfer, member of the board of directors of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG. “We are the first manufacturer to integrate automated conditional driving into series production in Germany. ”

However, Mercedes is not the first to introduce a Level 3 self-driving car. Credit goes to the Honda Legend with an advanced Honda Sensing system capable of Level 3 range, but this car is only available for hire. than in its Japanese home market. Additionally, the Audi A8 came close to Level 3 range in 2017, but the automaker quickly scrapped plans due to conflicting laws.

So what can you expect from a level 3 self-driving Mercedes-Benz? Unlike other Level 2 systems such as Ford’s BlueCruise partial hands-free driving system and GM’s Super Cruise, Level 3 or conditional driving automation allows the vehicle to react to its surroundings and take decisions without prompting the driver to take control.

Mercedes-Benz’s updated Drive Pilot system can take over driving tasks while the vehicle is traveling at the legally permitted speed of 60 km / h. After activating Drive Pilot via a pair of haptic buttons above the steering wheel thumbrests, the system controls driving speed and following distance while independently performing evasive or braking maneuvers, all without intervention. driver’s physics.

The system uses existing sensors from the brand’s Driver Assistance Package, but includes other sensors like LiDAR, microphones and an additional camera in the rear window. Additionally, Drive Pilot uses road geometry, traffic signs, route profiles and traffic events from a high precision positioning system and HD digital map to ‘drive’ the road. car.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the driver can concentrate on secondary activities while the Drive Pilot level 3 autonomy is engaged. In other words, you can surf the web, eat a sandwich, or maybe watch a movie while doing it. In the event of sudden equipment failure, Drive Pilot has redundant steering, braking and electrical systems so that the driver can still control the car.

In addition, Drive Pilot can automatically slow down and stop the vehicle after “an increasingly urgent request and the expiration of the time for care”, such as when the driver faces a medical emergency. The system will also activate the hazard warning lights, unlock doors and windows, and issue an emergency call to first responders.

The Level 3 Mercedes-Benz Drive Smart autonomous driving feature will be available in the S-Class luxury sedan and EQS electric luxury car in Europe in early 2022. It is not yet clear when the system will receive road certification in the States. -United. . Nonetheless, we believe Mercedes-Benz is working closely with the Department of Transportation and NHTSA to bring Level 3 autonomous driving to US highways soon.


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