The German government has given Mercedes permission to put its Level 3 autonomous driving technology on the road, Bloomberg reported. The system will be available to the general public on the new Mercedes S-Class and EQS saloons early next year, with a few exceptions.
The Level 3 technology (named Drive Pilot) will be accessible solely in Mercedes’ home market of Germany when it launches. Drivers will be able to use the technology only in slow-moving traffic on the highway at speeds up to 60km/h (around 37mph).
This gives Mercedes edge to Tesla as it has been granted the permission before Tesla and Mercedes has achieved a competitive advantage in one of the world’s most competitive vehicle marketplaces by offering increasing levels of automation.
Mercedes also claims that its Drive Pilot system will let the driver to undertake “ancillary duties” such as online shopping, responding to emails, or watching a movie on the car’s entertainment system, which is a big step forward in autonomous driving technology and law. Until now, self-driving technologies have required the presence of a human driver.
The Drive Pilot system collects data from a variety of LiDAR sensors, cameras, and GPS trackers that monitor the car’s surroundings and allow the AI to react intelligently – and, more significantly, independently – to threats like swerving traffic or impenetrable congestion along the driver’s route.
For years, Tesla, Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo, and other companies have been pursuing self-driving technology. Premium clients would be attracted to a fully autonomous vehicle since it would allow drivers to work or utilise entertainment systems while on the road.
Mercedes has only received certification for the technology in Germany, but it has stated that it is seeking regulatory approval in other countries as well.
Bloomberg further wrote that Tesla’s driver-assistance technology has ran into difficulties in Europe’s largest car market, after a German court rejected the company’s promotion of Autopilot last year, claiming the carmaker misled buyers about what the system can accomplish.
Elon Musk, the company’s CEO, has long expressed optimism about the capabilities of his vehicles, even charging consumers thousands of dollars for a “Full Self Driving” feature in 2016. Tesla’s Autopilot technology still demands users to be totally vigilant and ready to take over driving at any time, even after all these years.