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World's First Approval for Conditional Level 3 Automated Driving Goes to Mercedes-Benz

The German carmaker is one step closer to fully autonomous driving after it received the Level 3 certification for the Mercedes-Benz S-Class equipped with the DRIVE PILOT starting with the first half of 2022.
Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot 11 photos
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Mercedes-Benz was always at the forefront of technology and safety, being one of the first carmakers to study and introduce the ABS in its cars. Its evolution was focused not only on the comfort and luxury features, as some might think, but also on advanced driving technologies. On December 9, 2021, the German carmaker received approval for the Level 3 Autonomous driving system from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA).

Unlike other carmakers who rely exclusively on cameras to scan the road ahead, Mercedes-Benz trusted the LiDAR system. Markus Schaffer, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG and Chief Technology Officer, said, "We are the first manufacturer to put conditionally automated driving into series production in Germany."

Germany was the first country to adopt a package of rules and regulations for the basis of these systems in 2017. Mercedes-Benz will offer the DRIVE PILOT LiDAR-based systems starting with the first half of 2022 on the S-Class and the EQS and, later on, for the rest of the range. This system may be used on a 13,191-km (8,196-mile) motorway in Germany. At the time of writing, the carmaker also said that it continues the development for other countries, such as the U.S. and China. For now, the legal framework in other countries doesn't allow them to implement the DRIVE PILOT.

For now, this system may be enabled and works at speeds of up to 60 kph (37.3 mph), and it is very useful, especially when driving in slow traffic. It can keep the vehicle within its lane and react to unexpected traffic situations performing evasive maneuvers or braking. The Level 3 conditionally automated driving takes over some of the driver's tasks. Since there is a special sensor in the thumb area, on the steering wheel's rim, patching a soda can, or a water bottle won't do it. But still, they can watch a movie on the infotainment system or do some shopping, the premium carmaker claims. 

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