Mercedes gets nod to use hands-free driving system in Germany
According to the German car maker, the semi-autonomous driving system can drive in heavy traffic or congested road situations.
Germany’s transport authority has allowed luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz to use its level 3 (L3) semi-autonomous driving system.
(Sign up to our Technology newsletter, Today’s Cache, for insights on emerging themes at the intersection of technology, business and policy. Click here to subscribe for free.)
According to the German car maker, the semi-autonomous driving system can drive in heavy traffic or congested road situations. The company has used LiDAR-based technology to develop its self-driving system.
The self-drive feature will be first made available in its S-Class cars in the first half of 2022. Mercedes’s L3 mode can be used initially on 13,191 km of motorway in Germany.
The vehicle has a camera and microphone installed on its rear window, as well as a wetness sensor attached to the wheel well. It also receives data on road geometry, route profile, traffic signs and unusual traffic events via a digital HD map.
Once the system is active, it can control speed and distance, and keep the vehicle within the lane. It can also react to unexpected traffic situations and handle them independently, the company noted.
In case the self-drive system fails, the driver can take back control using the car’s ‘redundancy’ option. And, if the driver is unable to take back control, the system can apply brakes to stop the vehicle.
A vehicle with Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) L3 capabilities can take over certain driving tasks, providing a hands-free experience, however, a driver is still required. The driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at all times when prompted to intervene by the vehicle.
According to Mercedes, extensive test drives for this system are already underway, in countries like the U.S. and China. Once there is a national legal framework for conditionally automated operation in additional markets, the technology will be rolled out step by step, it added.