In December last year, Mercedes-Benz became the first automaker to gain an “internationally valid system approval” for a Level 3 system, available in the new S-Class and its all-electric alternative EQS. This basically means drivers of those two vehicles could go completely hands-free, though they still must be ready to intervene if necessary. It seems that this technology is coming to the United States before the end of the year.
The German automaker’s CEO Ola Kallenius recently confirmed it is working with full power to bring the Level 3 autonomous tech to the US market very soon. Speaking to journalists yesterday during the company’s 2021 financial results call, Kallenius said: “It’s our objective to roll out this technology this year.”
The automaker’s CEO also explained Mercedes is currently conducting tests in the United States and is also talking with the local authorities regarding the requirements that have to be met for the launch of the tech to happen. Unfortunately, he didn’t provide additional details, though admitted he wants the tech to be available on a wide scale.
On the Mercedes S-Class and EQS equipped with the Drive Pilot with Level 3 capability, the system can function in heavy, congested traffic at speeds of up to 37 miles per hour (60 kilometers per hour). If all requirements are met, the vehicle can accelerate, brake, and even change lanes without input from the driver. The function is already available on 8,197 miles (13,191 kilometers) of the German highway. In Deutschland, Mercedes will begin offering S-Class and EQS models starting later during the first half of 2022.
Audi was technically the first to reach Level 3 autonomous driving capabilities with the A8, though it abandoned its plans to make it available to customers in Europe and the US, at least for now. BMW is expected to join the party very soon with the launch of the next-generation 7 Series.