Innovation and pioneering are two concepts inextricably linked to Mercedes-Benz. After all, the German car industry constantly confirms them in every possible way, through the new safety, comfort and connectivity technologies it offers to drivers. The latest accolade for Mercedes-Benz was its Drive Pilot Level 3 certification in Nevada, USA, the only company worldwide to have achieved this. A development that allows the company to start releasing models with the new system in this state, in 2024. Mercedes-Benz has also received similar certification in Germany, from the European Transport Safety Council.
Undoubtedly, Drive Pilot Level 3 from Mercedes-Benz radically changes what we have known so far regarding autonomous driving. Being the most modern automated driving system, it offers the driver new possibilities, but also more independence, as it is no longer necessary to constantly watch the road. Therefore, the driver can deal with other important things, without putting those around him, as well as himself, at risk. Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Chief Technology Officer, stated that “Time is one of the most valuable commodities and giving time back to our customers is a key element of our strategy, aiming to building the most desirable cars in the world.” Mr. Schäfer also emphasized that “The Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot proves once again that pioneering is part of our DNA”.
With the safety of the driver as the primary goal, but also those who use the road network every day, Drive Pilot Level 3 from Mercedes-Benz has innovative safety systems that meet the high requirements of operational reliability. The reference point of the new system, but also essential for safe autonomous vehicles, is the use of lidar. Through this technology, the car uses laser beams to detect objects in the surrounding space with high definition 3D mapping, avoiding collisions and other unwanted situations. At the same time, Drive Pilot Level 3 is able to recognize emergency vehicles, through a camera and microphone mounted on the rear of the vehicle. In addition, it records and recognizes the condition of the road surface, through sensors above the wheels. An essential element of the new system is the innovative tracking system, which is much more powerful than conventional GPS systems.
Preparedness and caution
Drive Pilot is designed to operate on busy motorways at speeds below 40mph, allowing the driver to completely disengage from driving. And because safety is a top priority for Mercedes-Benz, the system features back-up steering and brake actuators, as well as a back-up electrical system, so that in the event of a breakdown, the driver is able to regain full control of the vehicle. If this is not possible due to the driver's weakness, the system brakes the vehicle in a controlled manner, while at the same time activating the hazard warning lights. As soon as the vehicle comes to a standstill, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated and the doors are unlocked to allow access to the interior of the vehicle.
Drive Pilot Level 3 is currently available on S models -Class and EQS, while it is expected that in the near future, Mercedes-Benz will receive certification in other countries as well, thus proving its dominance in the automotive field.