Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT system becomes the first SAE Level 3 certified autonomous driving technology in California.
DRIVE PILOT, will be offered as an option in the 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS Sedan models.
Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT system, touted as the world’s only SAE Level 3 internationally approved automated driving system, has now achieved another significant milestone, earning certification in California. This validation makes the luxury auto-giant the first car manufacturer to receive permission for implementing a SAE Level 3 system in a standard-production vehicle for public freeway usage in the US’s most populous state.
The ground-breaking DRIVE PILOT system will debut as an option in the US market for the 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS Sedan models, with the first batch set for customer delivery in late 2023. The system had already received approval from the state of Nevada in January 2023, in a step affirming Mercedes-Benz’s aim to roll out this advanced technology to additional markets.
DRIVE PILOT, when active, allows the driver to engage in secondary activities without the need to constantly monitor traffic. The system can take over the dynamic driving task in suitable freeway sections and high traffic density areas, at speeds up to 40 mph. It independently reacts to unexpected traffic situations by performing evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking when necessary.
Redundancy is a core principle of DRIVE PILOT’s operation to ensure safety. The system boasts additional sensors beyond the surround sensors of the standard Driver Assistance Package, including LiDAR, a rear window camera, and microphones to detect emergency vehicles, as well as a road wetness sensor. It also features redundant steering and braking actuators, and an onboard electrical system, assuring maneuverability even if a system failure occurs.
Mercedes-Benz’s focus on SAE Level 3 automated driving is part of a broader ambition to eventually enable speeds up to 80 mph in the system’s final iteration. Collaborations with industry powerhouses such as NVIDIA and Luminar underpin this strategic approach, and the recent SAE Level 3 certification signifies a major leap forward for automated driving, underscoring Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to leading in safety, technology, and customer convenience.