Tesla Auto Pilot and FSD (Full Self Driving) are the most popular driving assistant and autonomy technologies today, however, Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot is at the fore front when it comes to government approval.
Drive Pilot has already been approved in Germany as a Level 3 autonomy system, it is usable on roads without traffic light stops, roundabouts or construction zones and it works at speeds up to 60 km/h. The technology is close to getting legal in Nevada and California. Mercedes is hoping to get certification in the US, making it the first brand to obtain it in that prime market. To get this Level 3 certification, the system needs to give the driver a 10 second warning to take control of the vehicle in case of a difficult road scenario. No other manufacturer has such a long warning period in place.
These certifications shows that authorities trust in the technology and Mercedes Benz is so confident in it such that it will take full legal responsibility if something happens with the Drive Pilot turned on.
Available on some S-Class and the electric EQS models, Drive Pilot, when activated, takes control of the steering wheel, speed and brakes. It uses a combination of advanced imagery system, LiDAR sensors, variety of GPS systems, microphones and standard cameras to collect data around it. The system is capable of handling situations like sudden traffic halting, detecting debris on the road or aggressive cut-ins.
In case Drive Pilot detects emergency lights on ambulances and fire trucks, it hands over control to the driver and disengages itself. Other scenarios the system will need the driver to intervene includes, if it detects subpar weather conditions, overhead obstructions, tunnels, or if it becomes too dark. Otherwise, it can steer the car to the destination without needing much input from the owner. In fact, drivers are legally allowed to use their smartphones with Drive Pilot is engaged.
The system is still a long way from Level 5 full automation, but with the continued development by automakers and government support, it could happen sooner rather than later.