In the ever-evolving landscape of automotive technology, the familiar trio of red, yellow, and green traffic lights may soon have a new companion – turquoise. This distinctive color is set to be integrated into the signaling system of cars operating under the advanced SAE Level 3 automated driving system, Drive Pilot, developed by Mercedes-Benz.
The introduction of turquoise signals is not a mere aesthetic choice; rather, it addresses a crucial need for standardized signaling for computer-driven vehicles. With no existing national or international standards for such signals, Mercedes-Benz sought and secured permits from the states of California and Nevada to incorporate this novel color into its automated driving system.
The choice of turquoise was a deliberate one, considering factors such as visibility and distinctiveness. Unlike primary colors like red, yellow, and blue, as well as compound colors like green and orange, turquoise stands out without any pre-existing associations. This uniqueness ensures that the public and law enforcement can readily identify vehicles operating under autonomous control, preventing unnecessary panic or confusion.
Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot is authorized to activate turquoise lights integrated into headlights, taillights, and side mirrors. However, this authorization is currently limited to highway use only, and in California, it is granted for a two-year period. Meanwhile, in Nevada, the allowance is indefinite, beginning with the 2026 models of the EQS and S-Class sedans.
Although not all autonomous vehicles are required to use the turquoise signaling system, Mercedes-Benz’s adoption of the system encourages other automakers to think about implementing a uniform hue for signaling. A more simplified approach for law enforcement when dealing with autonomous vehicles, more public knowledge, and higher safety are all possible advantages of this kind of standardization.
It’s becoming clear that the automotive industry is reinventing not just how we drive but also how we communicate while on the road as we observe the installation of turquoise lights on the roadways. This new color scheme is a big step toward a day when human-driven and autonomous cars coexist peacefully, creating a more secure and effective transportation ecology.