Mercedes is the first car manufacturer in the world to offer an approved Level 3 system – and therefore is also responsible for accidents involving online driving. The S-Class and EQS system can be ordered from 17 May 2022.
Gregor Hebermehl, Uli Baumann
Starting in the first half of 2022, Mercedes will voluntarily prepare S-Class and EQS and Park Tests. The state-of-the-art automatic operating system can be ordered for both designs from 17 May 2022. S-Class buyers who mark the appropriate box will have to pay a fee of 5,000 euros. In the EQS, Park Trial costs 7,430 euros, as the system is automatically integrated with the Driver Assistance Package, which costs 2,430 euros.
The digital driver allows for free driving at a rate of 3. The suspects are the first people in the world to receive a permit to sell the vehicles in Germany and are currently working to expand the license to other markets. Of course, the original primary markets for advanced automotive transport come to mind: Asia and America. By the end of 2022, 3 Drive Drive tests should be allowed on the road in California and Nevada. And because a country with unlimited potential is also known for its unlimited billions of fines, as the future owner of a self-propelled Mercedes, you usually want to know who is responsible if the “driving pilot” gets lost from the right path. The answer is surprisingly simple: the manufacturer is responsible. Says Mercedes. By enabling Level 3 Operations, the driver delegates the responsibility of his vehicle to his vehicle. And with that responsibility. That goes for the manufacturer. And for this very reason, the operating window of the Level 3 system was very narrow: at this time, it operates exclusively on the road, does not change routes, operates only up to 60 km / h, during the day only, not indoors. tunnels or construction sites and at temperatures above only three degrees Celsius.
More than 60 miles per hour is still prohibited
But first things first: Free driving is divided into six levels: At zero, the driver alone has full control over the car, with five complete freedoms possible – then the car can drive theoretically without a driver. In the sales language of the developers, the Level 4 has sometimes also infiltrated itself as “complete freedom”, although this is actually an automatic operation, where the driver still has to sit behind the wheel and be able to intervene completely. The Level 3 system, now approved for road traffic, enables automatic driving up to 60 kilometers per hour on 13,191 kilometers of German autobahn (ie throughout the German autobahn network). Higher speeds are currently not permitted by law – so the Park Pilot can be used primarily on highways in traffic jams and heavy traffic.
Dodge within the path
If the driver has turned on the Park Pilot using the button on the steering wheel, the systems control the speed, distance of the car in front and keep in line. The technology also leads to maneuvering on the sidewalk, for example when another car slides into Mercedes. Changes to the way of freedom are currently not allowed by law.
The basis of the 3rd standard for free driving are the environment sensors of the driver assistance package, which also includes the detection of traffic signals. In addition, there is a lidar system (light detection and starting – optical distance and laser speed measurement), which those involved in Mercedes consider to be essential for driving freely. By comparison, while Tesla boss Elon Musk is also testing the lidar systems, he has claimed he does not need a lidar for his automotive capabilities. Lidar is very expensive and Tesla can also get sensors with camera images. In addition to the standard sensors and lidar, Mercedes also features a rear-view camera, microphone for detecting sound signals from special activity vehicles and a rain sensor on the wheel housing.
High quality 3D map and background environment calculator
Another important component of Park Testing is a constantly updated three-dimensional, high-resolution map that enters the vehicle through a back connection. The standard GPS system is no longer sufficient to determine the location of the vehicle. The high-precision positioning system consistently compares data received from a satellite navigation system with data from all orbiting detectors and also includes data on road geometry, route characteristics, markers and traffic markers in its calculations. At the same time, the drive sends the collected information to the back computer, where the map data is updated. Using map data, the correct position is then possible, even if one of the detectors should be dirty. The map has an intersection model with a detailed path and is said to be accurate in the centimeter column – the standard slides so far have only allowed for precision in meter ranges.
To ensure the efficiency, operational and operational safety of the Park Pilot, the vehicles are equipped with brake and steering systems – if the safety-related system fails, the technology changes to a replacement system compared to the work. On-board network is also not required and calculation of the principles required for free driving is also not required.
In accordance with UN regulations
The legal basis for the technical requirements for autonomous driving in accordance with Level 3 is UN-R157 (UNECE Regulation No. 157 / United Nations Economic Commission for Europe – United Nations Economic Commission Europe). The corresponding technical approval regulations came into effect only in early 2021. Germany was the first country to introduce its Road Traffic Act (StVG) for the intended use of Level 3 systems in 2017.
Watch movies or web browsing while driving
Those involved in Mercedes insist that the driver who enabled Drive Pilot could turn to other activities besides driving. Communication through the in-car office, email writing, web browsing or watching movies should be possible for the driver while driving. In addition, the driver may provide otherwise restricted actions while driving through the central display of the Test Drive mode. If the driver does not take the steering wheel after the expiration date and the driver has been repeatedly asked to replace it, for example in the event of a health problem, Drive Pilot brakes the car to stop, turning on the warning lights; sends messages to Mercedes emergency telephone system and opens doors and windows to facilitate first responders getting into the car.
Yes, maybe even earlier.
No, many problems remain unresolved.
Starting in the second half of April 2022, Mercedes will offer Park Testing as an option for its S-Class and EQS, which will enable level 3 driving freely. This makes Mercedes the first manufacturer in the world to reach this milestone. And this important step is on the brink of German autobahns – nowhere else in the world is this technology currently approved. The fact that the driver can, for example, relax and watch movies at speeds of up to 60 km / h while activating Drive Pilot, is a new driving trend – the gateway to driving with complete freedom after Level 5 now appears. be a little clear.
Restrictions that are currently still applicable to Level 3 of free driving are not just of a technical nature. For example, the legislature does not allow for a change in the way of independence and the maximum speed is limited to 60 kilometers per hour. Lawmakers and technical development will continue to move forward – after all, the Drive Pilot application area currently attracts those who drive a lot on congested roads. On country roads or even in the city, the driver has to do it himself.
Approval of Driving Testing is therefore an intermediate step in the process of driving independently, the implementation of which can still take time. The fact that Mercedes was the first to reach the 3rd possible level is now a good sign for Germany as a technology and commercial area.