Mercedes-Benz has achieved a pioneering milestone as the first automobile manufacturer globally to secure permits for distinct turquoise marker lights for automated vehicles, marking a significant advancement in the US states of California and Nevada.

This development is not merely an aesthetic enhancement but a leap forward in automotive technology and road safety, indicating a new chapter in the history of automated driving.

Mercedes-Benz's Turquoise Marker Lights

Two Forward-Thinking States

In California, the company has been granted a two-year exemption permit, allowing it to test these innovative vehicles on public roads. Nevada’s endorsement goes a step further, extending its permit to the 2026 production models of Mercedes-Benz. This forward-thinking approach is set to continue until legislative changes potentially alter the current permissions.

These permits are not just administrative achievements; they are gateways to invaluable insights into how automated vehicles interact with their environment, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles. The strategic inclusion of turquoise-colored marker lights aims to significantly boost public confidence and acceptance of automated driving technologies.

These lights are not merely functional but are a critical safety feature, making the automated system’s status externally visible and understandable, thereby enhancing overall road safety.

Turquoise marker lights development

The marker lights are meticulously designed following the SAE J3134 Recommended Practice. They are integrated into the vehicle’s front and rear lights and are also present on the external mirrors of the Mercedes-Benz test vehicles in California.

This integration is a testament to the company’s commitment to blending functionality with design, ensuring that safety features are seamlessly incorporated into the vehicle’s aesthetic.

Markus Schäfer, a key member of Mercedes-Benz Group AG’s Board of Management, emphasizes the significance of these developments. He notes that as automated vehicles become more prevalent, clear communication and interaction between the vehicle and its surroundings are paramount.

Mercedes-Benz's Turquoise Marker LightsHe proudly states that Mercedes-Benz is leading the charge in this new era of automotive innovation in the U.S., particularly in California and Nevada.

“With the development of automated driving marker lights, Mercedes-Benz is once again setting new industry standards. We are the first automaker in the world to receive such approvals in the U.S., specifically in California and Nevada. The more automated driving vehicles populate the road, the more important communication and interaction between the vehicle and the environment become,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, Development & Purchasing.

The introduction of these marker lights is particularly showcased in vehicles equipped with DRIVE PILOT, Mercedes-Benz’s trailblazing SAE Level 3 system for conditionally automated driving.

This system has received international acclaim and certification, including recent approvals in the U.S. DRIVE PILOT is not just a feature; it’s a statement of advanced engineering and commitment to safety, with its first production models already navigating the freeways of California and Nevada.

Why turquoise?

The choice of turquoise for the marker lights is deliberate and strategic. This hue is distinct enough to stand out among the plethora of lights that adorn our streets and vehicles, reducing the risk of confusion with other signals. It’s a color chosen based on extensive research, demonstrating its optimal visibility and psychological impact.

The industry-endorsed practice SAE J3134 specifically recommends turquoise for indicating the activation of an automated driving system, underlining its effectiveness and international recognition.

Mercedes-Benz's Turquoise Marker LightsAs Mercedes-Benz continues to push for the standardization and global acceptance of turquoise as the universal color for automated driving indicators, it acknowledges the need for collaboration and harmonization across nations. The goal is a future where such innovations are not isolated instances but part of a cohesive, global approach to road safety and technological advancement.

This initiative by Mercedes-Benz is more than just about complying with regulations or enhancing the visual appeal of vehicles. It’s about setting new industry standards, enhancing public trust in automated technologies, and ultimately contributing to a safer, more efficient driving environment for all.

As we move forward, the turquoise marker lights of Mercedes-Benz are not just illuminating the path for their vehicles but are guiding the entire automotive industry toward a brighter, safer future.

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