Mercedes-Benz is set to introduce its Level 3 automated driving system, Drive Pilot, to the US market in 2024, leading the competition in autonomous capabilities.
Mercedes’ Drive Pilot system surpasses General Motors and Tesla, becoming the first Level 3 system in the U.S.
Regulatory approval granted by California and Nevada for use under specific conditions.
Drive Pilot to be a subscription service, priced at $2,500 for its inaugural year.
Mercedes-Benz is set to launch its upcoming self-driving Drive Pilot system in the US market. This Level 3 automated driving feature, earmarked for the luxury EQS and S-Class models, is the first of its kind to gain certification in the U.S., placing Mercedes ahead of rivals such as General Motors and Tesla.
The Drive Pilot system, Mercedes’ flagship autonomous driving solution, has undergone extensive scrutiny to secure endorsements from regulatory bodies. This diligent pursuit of approvals ensures that the technology aligns with safety standards and regulations governing autonomous vehicles. The much-anticipated public debut is scheduled for later this year.
Both California and Nevada have granted their official nods of approval, allowing Drive Pilot to be utilized on their roads, albeit under specific parameters. The system is designed to function optimally under 40 mph in areas characterized by high traffic density on appropriate freeway sections, as outlined in an official release from Mercedes-Benz.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines Level 3 automation as a system that manages all driving tasks while still allowing the driver to intervene if necessary. This essentially grants the driver freedom to engage in other activities, such as texting or watching videos, but requires them to be ready to resume control when prompted by the vehicle.
Drive Pilot’s capabilities are not without boundaries. The system is constructed to function within specific operational domains. For instance, certain conditions, like wet roads or the presence of emergency vehicles, will necessitate manual control. Furthermore, speeds exceeding 40 mph will trigger an alert for the driver to retake the helm.
Currently, while Drive Pilot is accessible to EQS and S-Class owners in Germany, its US release has been a meticulous process due to the individualized vehicle regulations across states. However, Mercedes is set to roll out this feature in its 2024 EQS models, commencing deliveries early that year.
A noteworthy aspect is the subscription model Mercedes has opted for with Drive Pilot. The first-year subscription will cost $2,500, comparable to Tesla’s Full Self-Driving package, with more pricing structures to be disclosed in the future.