Electronics and Semiconductors

Mercedes-Benz first to offer Level 3 autonomous driving in California

14 June 2023
The Drive Pilot technology will be on model year 2024 S-Class and EQS sedan models that can partially take control of a vehicle under certain freeway conditions. Source: Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot autonomous driving has received certification from California becoming what it claims is the first automotive OEM to introduce a Level 3 system on standard production vehicles for use on public freeways.

Mercedes-Benz introduced its Level 3 automated technology earlier this year with the goal to offer an option in model year 2024 S-Class and EQS sedan models.

Originally, Drive Pilot was confirmed in Nevada to comply with state regulations, specifically the requirements of Nevada Chapter 482A for autonomous vehicles. The company plans to further expand the availability of Drive Pilot to other regions in the future.

What is Drive Pilot

The Level 3 autonomous technology can take over for the driver on freeway sections where there is high traffic density. The technology via a control button located on the steering wheel rim can drive up to speeds of 40 mph. The system controls the speed and distance and guides a vehicle within its lane.

Additionally, the system reacts to unexpected traffic situations and handles these issues independently through evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers. Route and traffic signs are correspondingly taken into consideration, Mercedes-Benz said.

If the driver fails to take back control after increasingly urgent promoting by the system, the system forces the vehicle to a standstill in a controlled manner and engages the hazard warning lights. Once stopped, an emergency call system is activated and the doors are unlocked to ensure the vehicle is accessible for first responders.

The Drive Pilot system uses sensors that surround the vehicle including lidar, cameras in the rear window and microphones that detect emergency vehicles. Other features include:

  • Road wetness sensor
  • Redundant steering and braking
  • Redundant on-board electrical system
  • Emergency controlled braking
  • Emergency call system
  • Automated door unlocks for first-responders
To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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