With its system that allows you to get your hands off the wheel, Mercedes wants to overtake Tesla in self-driving cars.

With its system that allows you to get your hands off the wheel, Mercedes wants to overtake Tesla in self-driving cars.

One more level in motor freedom. Mercedes-Benz will sell in Germany in mid-May cars with a “Drive Pilot” system that allows level 3 access and, in some cases, the possibility of removing your hands from the wheel, checking your emails or watching movies … System this will be offered to buyers of two of the most expensive German brand brands, the S-Class and its EQS counterpart, for 5,000 and 7,430 euros excluding tariffs.

In fact, this system will only be used in the event of heavy traffic on the road and provided the top speed does not exceed 60 km / h. However, the pilot must always be able to intervene for less than ten seconds if the system requires him to do so. Otherwise, the car automatically leaves “safe”. To analyze its environment and determine the maneuverability, the Drive Pilot system approved by the brand since 2019 relies on a large number of sensors, including the LiDAR laser telemetry system from manufacturer Valeo hardware.

One more step towards complete automotive independence

This system is a step towards complete freedom of vehicles even as developers progress slowly in this area which raises many legal questions and especially on the responsibility of developers. At Tesla, the freedom of sale currently on sale is “level 2” and you need a careful driver at all times, who oversees the activities of the on-board computer. However, the company is under criticism from critics of the U.S. regulator, who accuses it of ignoring its recommendations on the driver assistance system.

Manufacturer Audi had considered integrating this technology into its flagship, the A8, before canceling it. The Stellantis Group (Peugeot-Fiat) plans to implement its first 3-level system by 2024. However, countries are beginning to integrate automotive freedom into their own laws. If Germany ratified the 3rd standard for motor vehicle independence in early 2017. At the end of 2020, Japan became the first country in the world to adopt a 3rd level independence system on public roads. Honda should also sell a car equipped with a smaller series in the coming weeks. In France, a rotation of standard 3 cars can be approved in July.

Remains visible when level 5, the holy grail of the autonomous vehicle that will carry passengers from point A to B will be reached? Maybe we’ll have to wait a few more years even if the Tesla boss already dreams of a fully functional taxi group in the cities.

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