They could be the smartest cars on the streets of Europe: what Mercedes does

The carmaker will offer the conditional self-driving system, the first approved for European public roads, as an option starting at $ 5,300.

Mercedes-Benz will offer Drive Pilot, the first Level 3 autonomous driving system approved for European public roads, as an option for the S-Class and EQS models from 17 May.

Drive Pilot will cost 5,000 euros for the S-Class and 7,430 euros for the EQS in Germany, Mercedes said.

The system allows the car to take control of driving functions under certain conditions, freeing the driver to do other things, such as answering emails. Drive Pilot is approved for use on German motorways of approximately 13,000 km at speeds of 60 km / h or less, which means that its main use is in congested traffic or traffic jams.

Drive Pilot uses radar, lidar, and cameras, as well as ultrasound and humidity sensors, to provide vehicle computers with road condition data. It controls the speed, braking and position of the lane.

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The system may ask the driver to take control at any time, a prerequisite for Level 3 autonomy. If the driver does not respond within 10 seconds, the car will stop urgently.

The system will only be offered in new cars and cannot be upgraded, a Mercedes spokesman said, as it requires the installation of additional hardware.

State-of-the-art technology

Mercedes received approval in December from German regulators for the system, beating Tesla and other rivals in the race for conditional or Level 3 assisted driving certification on the SAE scale.

The carmaker aims to receive certification to sell the system in California and Nevada by the end of this year. Germany remains the only European country to allow Level 3 automatic driving, a Mercedes spokesman said.

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BMW, Mercedes’ premium rival, hopes to get approval this year for a Level 3 system in its new luxury 7-Series sedan. Tesla has long promised true “push” capabilities for its Full Self Driving package, but still requires drivers to be fully attentive and ready to take the lead.

Audi has prepared its A8 sedan for level 3 driving, but suspended the effort in 2020, and Honda won conditional approval in Japan in 2021 for a similar system, but implemented it only in limited production.

Volvo is testing what it calls “unattended self-driving,” which it intends to make available to customers in California before launching it in other markets.

Stellantis says it will have Level 3 available by 2024.

Mercedes says it is preparing for the next step in automatic driving with the “pre-installation” of Intelligent Park Pilot, which allows driverless parking.

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