The company can now sell and operate level 3 autonomous vehicles in Nevada and soon in California.
The EQS and the S-Class should be the first vehicles to offer this feature.
Mercedes’ level 2 system is also improved with automatic lane change capability.
Mercedes-Benz made the most of its presence at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas by making multiple announcements, including one that relates to its autonomous driving technologies.
Mercedes announced a few years back that it wanted to be the first to introduce level 3 autonomous driving in the United States and this is now done.
Indeed, the company has officially received the approbation of the state of Nevada and it is expecting to obtain the same certification from California shortly.
This means Mercedes-Benz is now able to test and sell vehicles that feature level 3 autonomous driving in these two states, paving the way for a continent-wide roll-out in the coming years.
As a refresher, most luxury vehicles currently offer level 2 systems that assist the driver by taking control of the speed of the vehicle as well as the steering on highways and divided streets.
These technologies require constant supervision by the driver, which is the main difference from level 3 systems.
This more advanced technology makes it possible for the driver to relax and take their hands off the steering wheel when driving in specific conditions.
Level 3 systems are not quite fully autonomous since they may require the driver to take manual control in an emergency, but they are capable of accomplishing all regular driving tasks on their own.
Mercedes began testing this technology in Germany in May of last year and American tests should begin soon.
The S-Class and the electric EQS are likely to be the first models to offer this feature, but it should trickle down to more affordable models in the automaker’s lineup in a few years.
Despite concentrating its efforts on this level 3 system, Mercedes also announced improvements to its level 2 driver assistance technology, which will now be able to overtake slower vehicles provided that the driver keeps their hands on the steering wheel.