Mercedes-Benz has announced its partnership with automotive self-driving technologies firm Luminar, in order to accelerate development of autonomous driving technologies for its passenger vehicles.
Through the projected shortening of development cycles and strengthened technology partnership between the two firms, Mercedes-Benz aims to ensure that its products are outfitted with the most up-to-date technologies, the automaker said.
“Mercedes-Benz’s achievement of SAE Level 3 [autonomous driving] already marked a huge milestone for automated driving and I am absolutely convinced that partnerships will increase our level of ambition for what is possible in the future, [and] cooperation is an essential part of Mercedes-Benz’s strategy. Therefore, I am highly delighted to have Austin Russell and Luminar on board for our journey,” said Mercedes-Benz CTO Markus Schäfer.
Luminar CEO Austin Russell with Mercedes-Benz CTO and boardmember for development, procurement and supplier quality Markus Schäfer
As part of the partnership, Mercedes-Benz “will enable Luminar with a data-driven approach” for the continuous updating and improvement of products, the carmaker said in its statement.
“This partnership is a landmark moment in the industry, demonstrating how substantially increased safety and autonomous driving functions on consumer vehicles are going from science fiction to mainstream. Mercedes-Benz has always been a technological leader and first mover for the industry, with the brand synonymous with automotive innovation, safety, luxury, and quality,” said Luminar founder and CEO Austin Russell.
Drive Pilot, which is Mercedes-Benz’s semi-autonomous driving system, received approval in December from the German federal motor transport authority (KBA) for being offered on public sale, thus making Mercedes-Benz the first automaker to meet the legal requirements of UN-R157 for a Level 3 autonomous driving system.
This suite of advanced driver assistance systems by the German automaker was announced with the debut of the W223-generation S-Class. With Drive Pilot now having met German requirements, the earliest units of the S-Class with the system will ship in the first half of this year.
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