Mercedes-Benz has taken a significant step in the field of automated driving in the US by becoming the world’s first automotive company to bring SAE Level 3 conditionally automated driving to the U.S. market.
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DRIVE PILOT: The Future of Conditionally Automated Driving in the US
Nevada has confirmed the compliance of the Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system with state regulations and this makes it the first and only SAE Level 3 system in a standard-production vehicle authorized for use on U.S. public freeways.
“In the modern world, time is one of the most precious commodities, and giving back time to our customers is a core element in our strategy to build the world’s most desirable cars. Our DRIVE PILOT takes a major step forward in achieving that and places us at the very forefront of innovation in the crucially important field of automated driving. DRIVE PILOT demonstrates once more that our pioneering spirit is part of our DNA,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and CTO responsible for Development and Procurement.
The DRIVE PILOT system is designed to give drivers back time by taking over the dynamic driving task under certain conditions. On suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density, the system can offer to take over driving, up to a speed of 40 mph.
The system controls the speed and distance and guides the vehicle within its lane, taking into consideration the route profile, events occurring on the route, and traffic signs. The system also reacts to unexpected traffic situations, handling them independently by evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers.
As for the DRIVE PILOT technology itself, it utilizes a LiDAR sensor, a camera in the rear window, and microphones to detect emergency vehicles, along with a road wetness sensor in the wheel well.
This comprehensive set of sensors, along with redundant systems such as steering and braking actuators and an onboard electrical system, allow the vehicle to safely transition control back to the driver in the event of any failure.
Innovative Technology Meets Unsurpassed Safety in Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT
In the case where the driver fails to take control, even after being prompted, the system will bring the vehicle to a controlled stop and activate the emergency call system. The high-precision positioning system, which is much more powerful than conventional GPS systems, uses LiDAR, camera, radar, and ultrasound sensors, as well as a digital HD map to provide a three-dimensional image of the road and surroundings.
This map, which is updated in real-time, has a higher accuracy in the centimeter range and contains information on road geometry, traffic signs, and special traffic events.
The DRIVE PILOT technology is powered by a sophisticated chipset in the central control unit, which calculates algorithms redundantly within a modern security architecture. This ensures stable and accurate positioning and allows for conditionally automated driving on suitable freeway sections, as well as handling unexpected traffic situations and evasive maneuvers within the lane.
The Technology Will Be Available Firs on Selected Vehicles
Overall, Mercedes-Benz’s certification of the DRIVE PILOT system as SAE Level 3 conditionally automated driving is a significant achievement that positions the automaker at the forefront of innovation in the autonomous driving space.
The system’s availability in the U.S. market as an option for the 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS Sedan models is sure to be eagerly awaited by consumers who are looking for a more convenient and efficient driving experience.
“DRIVE PILOT demonstrates once more that our pioneering spirit is part of our DNA,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Chief Technology Officer. “Certification in Nevada marks the start of its international rollout and, with it, the dawning of a new era.”