Mercedes-Benz has been granted regulatory approval in Germany for a new Drive Pilot Level 3 self-driving system, the automaker said on Thursday. The basis of the approval is the internationally valid UN Regulation 157 dealing with automated lane-keep systems, meaning Mercedes will be able to offer the system internationally, provided individual countries allow it.
On the SAE scale of self-driving capability, Level 3 denotes systems that allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road in certain situations, but are far short of true autonomous driving as the driver still needs to be ready to take back control at any time. Mercedes said Drive Pilot will work in dense traffic on pre-mapped stretches of highway, at speeds up to 37 mph, with the system handling steering, acceleration, and braking.
With approval from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) in hand, Mercedes plans to offer Drive Pilot on the S-Class sedan starting in the first half of 2022. Mercedes said regulatory approval also applies to the EQS electric hatch, but the automaker didn’t say when the system would be available on that vehicle.