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Mercedes-Benz is first to legally introduce L3 autonomous driving in Tesla's home ground, California

Shaun ยท Jun 12, 2023 05:35 PM

Mercedes-Benz is first to legally introduce L3 autonomous driving in Tesla's home ground, California 01

Mercedes-Benz has received certification from California state authorities for its Drive Pilot system, making it the first car manufacturer authorised to introduce a SAE Level 3 system in a standard-production vehicle for public freeways in California, US.

This puts the company ahead of Tesla with its Full Self-Driving (FSD) feature that is still legally classified as a Level 2 system.

Mercedes-Benz is first to legally introduce L3 autonomous driving in Tesla's home ground, California 02

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Drive Pilot will be available as an option for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS models in the US market, with deliveries starting in late 2023. The system allows drivers to engage in secondary activities while offering conditionally automated driving at speeds up to 40 mph (around 60 km/h).

Mercedes-Benz is first to legally introduce L3 autonomous driving in Tesla's home ground, California 01

During a conditionally automated journey, Drive Pilot allows the driver to divert their attention from the traffic and engage in certain secondary activities. When activated, Drive Pilot permits the use of certain applications on the vehicle's integrated central display that are normally restricted while driving.     

On suitable freeway sections with high traffic density, Drive Pilot can take over the dynamic driving task, maintaining speeds of up to 40 mph (around 60 km/h). The control buttons for this feature are located on the steering wheel rim, positioned above the thumb recesses.

Mercedes-Benz is first to legally introduce L3 autonomous driving in Tesla's home ground, California 02

The system indicates its availability through these buttons, and once activated, Drive Pilot takes control of the speed, distance, and lane positioning of the vehicle. It considers the route profile, events on the road, and traffic signs.

The system can also autonomously react to unexpected traffic situations, employing evasive manoeuvres within the lane or applying braking manoeuvres when necessary.

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In the event if the driver fails to regain control even after receiving increasingly urgent prompts and surpassing the takeover time limit (e.g., due to a severe health issue), Drive Pilot gradually brings the vehicle to a controlled stop while activating the hazard warning lights.

Once the vehicle is stationary, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated, and the doors unlock to facilitate access for first responders.

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Safety and operational reliability are top priorities for Mercedes-Benz, who have partnered with industry leaders like NVIDIA and Luminar for its LiDAR to enhance the technology. Mercedes-Benz's focus is on SAE Level 3 conditionally automated driving, with the ultimate goal of achieving speeds of up to 80 mph (130 km/h) in its final iteration.

Apart from California, the state of Nevada had already confirmed the system's compliance with state regulations in January 2023, and Mercedes-Benz intends to expand the availability of this system to other markets in the future.

Also read: Mercedes-Benz launches Drive Pilot โ€“ L3 automated driving, higher than Teslaโ€™s L2 Autopilot

Shaun

Senior Writer

The quest for automotive knowledge began as soon as the earliest memories. Various sources information, even questionable ones, have been explored including video games, television, magazines, or even internet forums. Still stuck in that rabbit hole.

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