Mercedes-Benz on the fast track to autonomous driving

Mercedes Drive Pilot 01
As reported by CNEVPOST, Mercedes-Benz has become one of the first automakers to receive approval to test highly automated driving systems (level 3) in Beijing. The German automaker can now begin testing in the Chinese capital on designated highways, with a focus on the principle of "safety first."

Mercedes is the only automaker in the world with a system approved for highly automated driving (SAE Level 3) and a driverless parking system (SAE level 4). The company has been conducting operational tests with level 3 systems in China for several years. With the Drive Pilot system, the driver can focus on secondary activities during highly automated driving, while the vehicle safely navigates.

To adapt the level 3 system to the Chinese market, Mercedes-Benz is working with a local research and development team, according to the company. The automaker has also been steadily expanding its research and development network in China in recent years. Mercedes-Benz received the world’s first internationally valid certificate for conditional automated driving in December 2021. Drive Pilot has been available in Germany since May 2022 in the S-Class and also for the EQS sedan.

History of automated driving began in the last millennium

Mercedes-Benz is a long-time pioneer in automated driving. Tests began as early as 1986 with the testing of adaptive cruise control. As a leader in automated driving technology, Mercedes-Benz is focused on providing the best possible customer experiences around the world.

“After bringing our Drive Pilot to Germany and the United States, the test license in Beijing is another important milestone in preparing conditional automated driving for Chinese roads,” said Markus Schäfer, a member of the board of management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG.We will use all of our global expertise to support the local development team in the safe and reliable design of the system.”

System is over-engineered for safety

The Drive Pilot level 3 automated driving system builds on the sensor technology of the Driving Assistance package and includes additional sensors that the automaker considers essential for safe conditional automated driving. These include a Lidar sensor, a sophisticated stereo camera in the front window, a multi-purpose camera in the rear window, microphones needed primarily for detecting special signals from emergency vehicles, and a road surface humidity sensor in the front wheel arch.

The S-Class and the optional equipment of the EQS with the Drive Pilot system also have redundant steering and braking systems, as well as a redundant on-board electrical system, to keep the vehicles controllable even in the event of a failure of one of the systems and allow for safe transfer of control to the driver.

Mercedes-Benz’s approval to test level 3 autonomous driving in Beijing is a significant step forward for the automaker and for the development of autonomous driving technology in general. The company’s commitment to safety and its focus on providing the best possible customer experience are likely to help it to lead the way in this rapidly evolving field.

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