Mercedes-Benz Level 3 Drive Tech Pilot Certified For Use In Nevada

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Nevada has become the first US state to certify Mercedes-Benz and its Level 3 conditional automated driving system. Mercedes is the first automaker to bring a level of autonomous driving to the US, offering Drive Pilot technology in select vehicles.

The system takes over driving the vehicle, allowing the driver to focus on secondary activities. Drive Pilot works on high-traffic-compliant highways at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour (64 kilometers per hour). A control button on the steering wheel rim indicates when the system is operating, and the driver only needs to press it to activate it. Drive Pilot can control the car’s speed and distance, guiding it on its path while performing evasive maneuvers in reaction to unexpected traffic situations.

Mercedes packed the car with sensors, developing the company’s Driving Assistance Package to create the Drive Pilot. Vehicles with this technology have rear view mirror cameras and microphones to detect emergency vehicles and road wetness sensors in the wheel wells. Mercedes also uses LiDAR to keep the car in place. The company installed redundant steering and braking actuators and a redundant onboard electric system to ensure safe handover to the driver.

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The system has a fail-safe feature if the driver fails to heed system commands to regain control of the vehicle. If this happens, the vehicle applies the brakes, flashes the hazard warning lights, unlocks the doors and activates the emergency calling system once the car comes to a stop.

Another feature of the Drive Pilot system is its high-precision positioning system, which Mercedes says is more powerful than conventional GPS. Map accuracy is measured in centimeters, not meters like traditional navigation systems, providing a three-dimensional image of the road and its surroundings with road geometry information also available. Mercedes stores maps in a data center, which is accessible to its vehicles and allows for accurate positioning.

Mercedes will offer Drive Pilot in the 2024 S-Class and EQS sedans, delivering the first cars to customers in the second half of 2023. The company hopes to expand Drive Pilot use to California soon after submitting certification documents to the state.

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