- mercedes will launch a new level 3 autonomous driving system in germany at the beginning of 2022.
- called drive pilot, it will be available for the s-class and eqs models.
- the system is operable at up to 37 mph on designated highways in germany.
mercedes says it has received regulatory approval in germany for its latest level 3 autonomous driving system, called drive pilot. this technology allows for hands-free driving under certain conditions and, unlike level 2 systems such as cadillac's super cruise, does not require the driver to be looking at the road while the system is active. audi had previously pioneered a similar system in the a8 but later gave up on seeking government approval in both europe and the u.s. honda launched level 3 technology in japan in a small batch of legend sedans earlier this year.
drive pilot will first be available in germany for the s-class sedan starting in early 2022 and later for the electric eqs, and mercedes says it is testing the system in the u.s. and china. so far it can only operate on designated highways in germany, comprising a total of 8197 miles, and only works up to 37 mph. it uses the existing suite of sensors that enable other driver-assistance features and also includes additional lidar sensors, cameras, and a moisture sensor in the wheel well. there are also failsafes for the steering, braking, and electrical systems.
the drive pilot system will prompt the driver to take over control if certain conditions are not met. if the driver fails to do so, the system will bring the vehicle to a stop, start the hazard lights, and activate the emergency call function.
drive pilot's potential availability in the u.s. will depend on how regulations and laws for autonomous driving develop on our shores. earlier this year, nhtsa finalized and clarified the rules for vehicles with level 3, level 4, and level 5 autonomous systems. but mercedes has not yet detailed how or if it plans to seek approval for drive pilot in america. we also don't know how much the drive pilot option will cost for the s-class in germany, so stay tuned for more information to come on this new feature.