Mercedes Aims to Offer Hands-Free Driver-Assist System in 2022

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【Summary】After winning certification in Germany for its Level 3 semi-autonomous driving system last year, Mercedes-Benz is looking to bring the technology to the U.S. this year.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Apr 05, 2022 8:15 AM PT
Mercedes Aims to Offer Hands-Free Driver-Assist System in 2022

We're seeing more automakers come out with semi-autonomous driver-assist systems for consumers to purchase in mainstream vehicles. While the technology is still very much in the early phase, it's nifty to see the tech finally trickle to mainstream cars. Systems like General Motors' Super Cruise have really set the benchmark for what drivers can expect to see from high-tech driver-assist systems. While the majority of systems on the market are classified as Level 2 systems, Mercedes-Benz is looking to bring a Level 3 system to the U.S. this year.

Level 3 System Coming Soon

Mercedes announced the news in a results call with Automotive News earlier this week. The Level 3 driver-assist system that the automaker is referring to is called Drive Pilot. The automaker won certification in Germany for the technology last year and is looking to bring the technology to the U.S. this year.

The outlet claims that Mercedes-Benz was the first automaker to receive clearance from "Germany's car watchdog" for the brand's Level 3 driver-assist system. The clearance was given last December and required the system to pass technical requirements laid out by United Nations regulations. Now, Mercedes is working with U.S. authorities to try and bring the tech to our roads before the end of the year.

What Drive Pilot Can Do

On certain stretches of highway, Drive Pilot can handle steering, accelerating, and braking at speeds of up to 37 mph. That may not sound extraordinary, and certainly isn't when compared to Super Cruise, which can do this at much higher speeds and even allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel. But Mercedes' Drive Pilot system is classified as a Level 3 because it doesn't require a driver to monitor the vehicle.

With Drive Pilot, drivers can remove their hands off the wheel and take their eyes off the road ahead. Mercedes claims drivers can do things like watch a movie, scroll on their smartphone, or send an email. The automaker refers to these as "certain secondary activities." Of course, drivers have to take control of the vehicle when prompted, but for the most part, Drive Pilot can drive without driver intervention at low speeds.

The Level 3 system will launch in Germany in the S-Class in the first half of 2022. Mercedes will also offer the technology in the all-electric EQS sedan. Mercedes didn't say anything about which vehicles would be available with the Level 3 system in the U.S., but we assume the S-Class and EQS are the two options that make the most sense.

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