The Drive Pilot semi-autonomous driving system by Mercedes-Benz has been cleared by German federal motor transport authority (KBA) to be offered for public sale, the automaker has said in a statement. This makes Mercedes-Benz the first automaker to meet the legal requirements of UN-R157 for a Level 3 autonomous driving system, it says.
In terms of series-production vehicles, Drive Pilot was announced with the debut of the W223 S-Class, which Mercedes-Benz said at the time would be certified for Level 3 hands-free driving this year. With Drive Pilot now meeting the legal requirements, the first units of the W223 S-Class with Drive Pilot will be delivered in the first half of 2022.
The opening of the Road Traffic Act in Germany for Level 3 systems in 2017 enabled the country to create a legal basis for the intended use of these autonomous driving systems, though the technical approval regulation with which the system can be certified did not take effect until the beginning of this year, said Mercedes-Benz.
Drive Pilot will initially be offered on 8,197 miles (13,115 km) of highways in Germany, and extensive test drives are already being carried out for the systems in other markets, such as China and the United States. The technology will be rolled out in more regions as soon as there is a national legal framework in place for conditional automated operation in additional markets, the automaker said.
Approval of the Drive Pilot system also applies to the EQS
On suitable stretches of highway when traffic density is high, drivers can elect for Drive Pilot to take over driving, initially at a legally permitted speed limit of 60 km/h. This then enables the driver to perform minor tasks on the central display such as communicating via In-Car Office. Applications that are normally blocked on the central display when driving can be enabled in Drive Pilot mode.
Drive Pilot-equipped models such as the S-Class also have supplemental steering and braking systems as well as a supplemental onboard electrical system in order for the vehicle to remain manoeuvrable, even if one of the systems fail, thus ensuring safe handover of vehicle operation to the driver can be carried out.
If the driver fails to retake control of the vehicle even after repeated and increasingly urgent prompting, such as in the event of a severe health problem, the system will slow the vehicle to a standstill in a controlled manner with suitable deceleration. Once at a halt, the vehicle will unlock its doors and windows to enable easy access for any first responders on the scene.
“With this milestone, we are once again proving our pioneering work in automated driving and also initiating a radical paradigm shift. For the first time in 136 years of automotive history, the vehicle takes over the dynamic driving task under certain conditions,” said Mercedes-Benz chief technology officer Markus Schäfer.
The post Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot cleared for use in Germany appeared first on Paul Tan’s Automotive News.