The Mercedes DRIVE PILOT system for conditionally autonomous driving can be ordered for the S-Class and EQS. In Germany, from May 17, 2022, the SAE Level 3 autonomous feature will be available as an optional extra for the S-Class for 5,000 Euro and the EQS for 7,430 Euro (Driver Assistance Package Plus: 2,430 Euro and DRIVE PILOT: 5,000 Euro) excl. VAT.
“Mercedes-Benz is the first manufacturer to put a Level 3 system with international valid certification into series production. As a first step, we are offering this world-leading technology in Germany in the S-Class and the EQS. At the same time, we also want to receive certification in the U.S. by the end of the year.
Responsible handling of future technologies such as conditional automated driving is the key to acceptance among customers and in society. With DRIVE PILOT, we have developed an innovative technology that, thanks to redundancies with many sensors, enables safe operation and gives the valuable asset ‘time’ back to the customer”, says Britta Seeger, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes‑Benz Group AG, responsible for Marketing & Sales.
The Mercedes DRIVE PILOT can takeover driving tasks in heavy traffic
Mercedes-Benz is the first automobile manufacturer in the world to provide conditional automatic driving as an option ex-works for cars in serial production, thanks to an internationally valid certification.
DRIVE PILOT allows consumers to delegate driving to the system in specific circumstances, such as severe traffic or congestion, on approved freeway portions in Germany up to 60 km/h. This means the greatest driving experience for consumers. They can unwind or work, reclaiming crucial time.
Following the activation of DRIVE PILOT, the system manages the vehicle’s speed and distance while also guiding it inside its lane. The route profile, events on the route, and traffic signs are all studied and considered. DRIVE PILOT also responds to unforeseen traffic circumstances and manages them on its own, for example, by performing lane evasive maneuvers or braking maneuvers.
Mercedes-conditionally Benz’s automated driving system (SAE-Level 3) expands on the vehicle sensing technology of the Driving Assistance Package and adds additional sensors that the company believes are essential for safe operation: radar, LiDAR, and cameras are the most common, although ultrasound and moisture sensors may also offer useful information.
Mercedes-Benz hopes to acquire regulatory series clearance for the two US states of California and Nevada by the end of 2022 if the legal environment supports the system’s functioning.
Safety ensured by redundant systems architecture
According to SAE-Level 3, conditionally automated vehicle operation necessitates a system architecture that allows for the safe management of any failures, whether minor or major. The braking system, steering, power supply, and sensor technology components such as those for environmental awareness and driving dynamics computation are all part of the redundant architecture.
The redundant architecture extends to the battery, steering motor, wheel speed sensors, and the numerous algorithms utilized by the system to compute the data. Furthermore, portions of the sensor technology are functionally redundant, since their distinct physical concepts (e.g., optical, ultrasonic, and radio waves) complement each other, allowing for secure transmission.
As a result, Mercedes-Benz is establishing whole new safety standards in autonomous driving.
Due to its redundant system design, the vehicle remains maneuverable in the rare event of a failure, enabling DRIVE PILOT to complete a safe handover to the driver. If the driver does not comply with the takeover request within the maximum authorized time of ten seconds, for example, due to a medical emergency, DRIVE PILOT initiates a safe emergency stop for both the vehicle and the following traffic.
The Intelligent Drive Controller continually calculates the best trajectory for coming to a safe halt for this reason. Meanwhile, DRIVE PILOT’s maneuverability is meant to maintain the vehicle in its lane and avoid colliding with other road users or obstacles.
Exact positioning with enhanced sensor diversity
A high-precision positioning system much more capable than normal GPS systems is used to detect the precise location of a Mercedes equipped with DRIVE PILOT.
A digital HD map gives a three-dimensional view of the road and its surroundings with information on road geometry, route characteristics, traffic signs, and special traffic events, in addition to the anonymized data acquired by LiDAR, camera, radar, and ultrasound sensors (e.g. accidents or road works).
This high-precision map is distinguished from navigation device maps by its centimeter-level accuracy rather than meter-level accuracy, as well as its precise junction and route model. The map data is regularly updated and stored in backend data centers. Each vehicle additionally keeps a picture of this map data on board, compares it to the backend data on a regular basis, and updates the local dataset as needed.
All of this allows for steady and precise orientation thanks to a depiction of the environment that is free of shadows and dirty sensors.
A multidisciplinary team ensures legal compliance
Mercedes-Benz is making sure that the new technology is deployed on the road in a lawful way. During the development process, engineers, attorneys, compliance managers, data protection officers, and ethical experts collaborated.
Additional control techniques, for example, offer one foundation for autonomous driving: Mercedes-Benz engineers purposely avoid using algorithms, such as self-learning techniques, for safety-relevant tasks like pedestrian detection. The emphasis is on “supervised learning,” in which Mercedes-Benz specifies and controls what the artificial intelligence is permitted to learn.
Before the AI software is employed on the roadways, it undergoes intensive validation testing to guarantee that it performs as expected in real-world traffic circumstances. In the instance of pedestrian detection, AI aids the system in swiftly and safely identifying objects and situations on and near the road.
The detection technique must be non-discriminatory, according to the automobile manufacturer’s ethical requirements. This means the vehicle’s many sensors are constantly monitoring the road and the roadside in order to accurately recognize individuals regardless of their attire, body size, posture, or other features.
Mercedes-Benz, at the forefront of autonomous driving R&D
Since the invention of the automobile in 1886, Mercedes-Benz has consistently set the standard in vehicle safety via various technological advances. One of the brand’s main beliefs is safety. Mercedes-Benz, for example, has long offered sophisticated driver assistance systems (SAE-Level 2) in its automobiles.
They may help with speed and distance management, steering, and lane changes, among other things, in many common scenarios. In December 2021, Mercedes-Benz became the first automobile manufacturer in the world to get globally recognized system clearance for conditionally autonomous driving.
When it comes to parking, the brand takes it a step further by pre-installing the INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT, which will allow fully automated, driverless parking to SAE-Level 4 in the future.