Tesla’s autonomous driving technology is well known, but the Full Self Driving (FSD) name is a bit misleading since no automaker has reached Level 5 which enables complete self driving. The Tesla’s technology, as well as many other versions from competing manufacturers are actually Level 2. Some car makers such as Audi have Level 3 capability but none of them is certified legally, apart from Mercedes Benz.
Mercedes is the first to gain an “internationally valid system approval” for a Level 3 system for their new S-Class and the electric EQS luxury sedans. The approval was done by UN-R157, it’s a United Nations regulation that sets standards and benchmarks regarding Level 3 autonomous technology in vehicles. Individual countries will still have to approve the tech on their roads but UN is setting the pace on an international level. Germany, Mercedes-Benz home country, has already given the green light and soon other countries will follow.
Level 3 autonomy let’s the driver to go completely hands-free and even divert attention away from the road ahead. However, if needed, the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle. With Level 3, cars can navigate themselves in congested traffic at speeds of up to 37 mph (60 km/h). The technology will handle the breaking, acceleration and changing lanes without requiring the drivers input.
The UN-R157 was established earlier this year, it is expected to give international approval for Level 3 autonomy to other manufacturers soon such as Honda which also has the technology fitted in their Honda Legend sedan.