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Mercedes brings the first legal Level 3 self-driving system to Nevada

Despite the name and capabilities of the advanced driver assistance systems offered by many automakers, none offered on a production vehicle qualifies for self-driving capabilities. Level 3, according to the regulations of SAE. That’s about to change, as Mercedes-Benz announced on Thursday that the 2024 S-Class and EQS models will have Drive Pilot, a Level 3 system that will be capable of legal operation in Nevada starting. in the second half of this year.

To qualify as a Level 3 system as defined by the SAE, a system that “can control the vehicle under limited conditions and will not operate unless all conditions are met.” The definition also states that drivers “do not operate the vehicle while these autonomous driving features are active” even while they are in the driver’s seat. However, the driver must be ready to assume control when the conditions for the system to operate are not met or when the system requires it.

Mercedes says Drive Pilot has met Nevada’s Chapter 482A requirements for Autonomous Vehicles, and it hopes to deliver the system in California by the end of the year. Meanwhile, Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature, which is not eligible for Level 3, may be available soon illegal in California.

Drive Pilot will operate on highways in heavy traffic situations at speeds up to 40 mph. It will be able to control speed, distance from vehicles ahead and keep the vehicle in its lane. Mercedes says it will automatically react to traffic signs and traffic situations on the route.

The system is activated by buttons on the steering wheel and these buttons indicate when the system is ready for use. If the driver loses control when the system calls for it, it pulls into his lane, turns on hazard lights, unlocks the doors and activates the emergency call system.

In addition to the sensors already built into the vehicle with the Driver Assistance Pack, Drive Pilot adds a lidar sensor, rear window camera, microphone to detect emergency vehicles, interior road humidity sensor wheel wells and backup brake and steering actuators, as well as a backup power system on board. This system also uses a global positioning system accurate to centimeters instead of meters as in other mapping systems. High definition digital maps provide 3D visualization of road shapes, surroundings, route characteristics, traffic signs and traffic events. This map is provided and continuously updated by an auxiliary connection and data from other Drive Pilot vehicles will update it.

Mercedes says Drive Pilot returns time to the driver. When the system is active, applications on the central touchscreen that are normally blocked while driving can be activated.

This is the first application of the Level 3 system in the US, but it has been available in Germany since last May. Mercedes has not provided pricing for the Drive Pilot yet.


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