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  • Drive Pilot, a Level 3 autonomous driving system, allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road in certain situations.
  • Is permitted to operate at a maximum of 37 mph and only on permitted highways in Germany.
  • Drive Pilot is undergoing testing in China and the United States.

Mercedes-Benz has been granted regulatory approval in Germany for its Level 3 autonomous driving system, named Drive Pilot. Drive Pilot will first be available for the S-class sedan in early 2022 and eventually become available for the EQS, Mercedes’ all-electric vehicle offering. Drive Pilot is allowed to operate at a maximum of 37 mph and is only permitted on selected highways in Germany, designating 8,197 miles of available road.

According to the SAE Levels of Driving Automation, a Level 3 system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road while the vehicle drives itself (in some situations). However, if certain criteria is met, the vehicle may turn off its self-driving feature and require a human operator to assume control. If no individual takes control, Drive Pilot will force the vehicle to stop, turn on the hazard lights, and activate the emergency call feature.

Drive Pilot is undergoing testing in China and the United States. The feature utilizes many of the vehicle’s preexisting sensors and cameras, as well as additional LiDAR sensors and a moisture sensor located in the wheel well. The vehicle includes fail safes for braking, steering, and other electrical systems.

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Availability and use of Drive Pilot in the United States is currently undetermined. However, as the feature begins to experience usage overseas, lawmakers and regulators will gain a clearer picture of Drive Pilot’s impacts, allowing them to have a better sense of direction on how to effectively integrate Drive Pilot onto U.S. roads.