Will the truth soon overtake false stories? Watching the film while it is parked on the highway: so the Mercedes-Benz “Drive Pilot” system, sold from mid-May in Germany, will allow, ahead of Tesla in a competitive niche of so-called free “3 level” driving. The system, which allows you to take your hands off the steering wheel and look away from the road in certain conditions, will be offered to buyers of the two most expensive German brand models, the S-Class and its electronic counterpart EQS, for 5,000. and 7,430 euros excluding consecutive tariffs, according to a press release this Friday, May 6. “Drive Pilot” if sold, however, could only drive without human intervention in certain special circumstances: in the event of heavy traffic on the road, with a top speed of 60 km / h.
The device allows the driver to view emails, browse the Internet or watch movies on the car’s main screen. “Customers can relax or work,” Mercedes-Benz notes. But the pilot must always be able to intervene in less than ten seconds if the system requires him to do so. Otherwise, the car automatically leaves “safe”. To analyze its environment and determine its operation, EQS and S-Class rely on a large number of sensors, including the LiDAR (laser starting) system from manufacturer Valeo hardware. From driver assistance to unmanned vehicles, the car’s level of freedom has five levels.
Tesla under fire from critics
At Tesla, the independent operating system currently on sale is “level 2” and you need a careful driver at all times, who oversees the activities of the on-board computer. Elon Musk, a founder in the electronics and autonomous movement, is also under pressure from an American regulator, who accuses him of ignoring his recommendations on the driver assistance system. Mercedes-Benz had obtained in December last year the world’s first permit to sell highly self-sufficient vehicles complying with UN-R157 standards, which local laws permit. After Germany, the manufacturer says it wants to get “end of the year” approval for mass marketing in California and Nevada.
Germany is Europe’s pioneer of free driving: since 2017, the 3rd standard of driving has been approved there. The Audi manufacturer considered integrating this technology into its flagship, the A8, before canceling it. By the end of 2020, Japan became the first country in the world to achieve a level 3rd independence system on public roads, linked to the Honda Story, sold in a small series in the spring of 2021. Stellantis Group (Peugeot-Fiat) plans to support the implementation of 2024 its first 3 level system, developed by BMW.
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