Mercedes-Benz’s groundbreaking Level 3 autonomous driver assist system, DRIVE PILOT, has received official certification to operate throughout the entire state of California. This exciting development marks a significant milestone in the advancement of autonomous driving technology, and California becomes the latest state to embrace the future of mobility.
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Expanding Horizons: Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT in California
The debut of Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT in Germany in May 2022 generated tremendous anticipation worldwide. Although DRIVE PILOT had been experienced to some extent in the United States under supervised conditions, the recent certification from California authorities opens up a new realm of possibilities. DRIVE PILOT builds upon Mercedes-Benz’s well-established Level 2 autonomy, adding new layers of sophistication and safety features.
Enhanced Driver Assistance: A Glimpse into Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT
Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT takes driver assistance to the next level by ensuring the vehicle maintains a preselected distance from the vehicle ahead while also handling standard operations such as lane keeping and active steering. Unlike the previous DISTRONIC Active Distance Assist, which required the driver to keep their hands on the wheel, DRIVE PILOT achieves Level 3 autonomy. This groundbreaking technology harnesses the existing surround sensors found in the Mercedes’ Driving Assistance Package and supplements them with additional sensors, including LiDAR and a rear window camera.
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Unparalleled Safety: Redundancy and Fail-Safes
DRIVE PILOT goes above and beyond to ensure the utmost safety for occupants and other road users. It utilizes microphones to detect approaching emergency vehicles and features a road wetness sensor in the wheel well. Furthermore, DRIVE PILOT incorporates redundant steering, braking actuators, and a robust onboard electrical system. These fail-safes ensure that even if one system encounters difficulties, the overall performance remains reliable. Mercedes-Benz’s dedication to safety has earned them Level 3 autonomous driving certification from the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), making them one of the few automakers to achieve this milestone.
California Joins Nevada in Embracing Level 3 Autonomy
With the recent certification from California authorities, the state joins Nevada as the second in the United States to allow the operation of Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT. This significant step forward establishes Mercedes-Benz as the first automaker approved for Level 3 autonomous driving in both states in a standard-production capacity. It showcases the brand’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of innovation and shaping the future of mobility.
Unleashing True Autonomy: DRIVE PILOT in Action
Unlike Level 2 ADAS systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and Ford’s BlueCruise, which require constant driver attention, Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT enables drivers to take their hands off the wheel and their eyes off the road when engaged. The vehicle assumes full liability for any incidents that may occur during this mode. Markus Schäfer, a member of the board of management of Mercedes Benz Group AG and chief technology officer responsible for development and procurement, emphasized the significance of DRIVE PILOT:
“Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT is the world’s only SAE Level 3 system with internationally valid type approval. It builds on a very robust foundation, setting new industry standards. DRIVE PILOT uses a highly sophisticated vehicle architecture based on redundancy with a multitude of sensors enabling comfortable and safe conditionally automated driving. The certification by the authorities in California and in Nevada once again confirms that redundancy is the safe and thus the right approach.”
Beyond the Horizon: Future Expansion of DRIVE PILOT
While Mercedes-Benz’s current iteration of DRIVE PILOT aims to achieve Level 3 autonomous driving at speeds of up to 80 mph, it is not yet fully realized. Similar to Nevada