A while ago, Mercedes-Benz got certification in Germany for its Level 3 Drive Pilot semi- autonomous driving system, the first automaker to do so. Now that the system has been approved, Benz has started selling it to owners of the S – Class and EQS for €5,000. In addition, there’s a €2,430 for the Driver Assistance Package Plus for the EQS.
According to Mercedes, Drive Pilot comes with “conditional automation when the system handles all aspects of driving, while the driver can take over if requested”. SAE International (Society of Automotive Engineers) points out that this is the first system that does not require the driver to supervise it at all times, in fact, the technology allows drivers to play games when the car is still moving in self driving mode.
For now, Drive Pilot will be operational on about 13,000km (just over 8,000 miles) of German motorways and will continue to grow from there. Drive Pilot will also only operate in heavy traffic on motorways and at speeds no faster than 60kmh. The maps used are high precision and are accurate within 1 centimeter. In addition to the maps, Benz utilizes LiDAR, camera, radar and ultrasound sensors to make the semi autonomy possible.
Drive Pilot is backed up by numerous redundancies in case of system failures, that even if a serious malfunction occurs, the vehicle will be able to safely hand over the controls back to the driver. In case the driver fails to respond, the car will be able to safely pull over and stop. Mercedes trusts this technology so much that if an accident occurs, the automaker will take legal responsibility if the Drive Pilot was in charge.
After Germany, Mercedes-Benz’s home country, the company plans to get certification in California and Nevada, US by the end of the year as well as China.