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What is Mercedes-Benz’ Drive Pilot?

Mercedes-Benz is the first automaker to offer a certified SAE Level 3 automated driving system for production vehicles in the U.S. market.

Mercedes-Benz has recently announced that it will offer Drive Pilot, the world’s first certified SAE Level 3 system for the U.S. market, on the 2023 S-Class and EQS models. Drive Pilot is a groundbreaking technology that enables the driver to delegate the driving task to the vehicle under certain conditions, such as on highways or in traffic jams. In this article, we will compare Drive Pilot with other advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), explain how it works and what it can do, and discuss its safety and legal implications.

What is Drive Pilot, and how is it different from other ADAS?

Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot is not just an enhanced version of ADAS that helps the driver with steering, braking, and accelerating. It is a fully automated driving system that can control the vehicle in specific situations, such as when driving on divided highways with clear lane markings and physical barriers between traffic directions at speeds up to 37 mph. In these scenarios, the driver can activate Drive Pilot by pressing a button on the steering wheel and then relax, watch a movie, browse the internet, or chat with passengers. 

Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot

Drive Pilot is based on a sophisticated sensor system that includes cameras, radars, lidars, and ultrasonic sensors. The system also uses high-definition maps and real-time data from the cloud to enhance its situational awareness and decision-making. Drive Pilot can perform lane changes, overtake slower vehicles, adjust speed according to traffic flow and speed limits, and react to hazards such as pedestrians, cyclists, or animals.

Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot is designed to provide a safe and comfortable driving experience for both the driver and the passengers. The system constantly monitors the driver’s attention level using an infrared camera on the steering wheel.

Drive Pilot also informs the driver about its status and intentions using a large head-up display (HUD) and a 12.8-inch OLED touchscreen in the center console. The HUD shows a blue steering wheel icon when Drive Pilot is active, along with information such as speed, distance, lane markings, and traffic signs. The touchscreen displays a 3D map of the surrounding environment, highlighting other vehicles, road users, and potential hazards. The touchscreen also allows the driver to interact with the Drive Pilot, such as accepting or rejecting lane change suggestions or overriding the system by using the pedals or the steering wheel.

Drive Pilot is different from other ADAS in several ways. First, it is classified as SAE Level 3 (conditional automation), which means that it can perform all aspects of the dynamic driving task under certain conditions while expecting the driver to intervene when the system requests or conditions change.

Secondly, Drive Pilot is compliant with the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) regulation R157, which defines the technical requirements and performance criteria for automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS). This regulation allows Drive Pilot to operate legally in certain countries that have adopted it, such as Germany, where it was launched in July 2021 on the S-Class sedan.

Thirdly, Drive Pilot is offered as an option on select models of the S-Class and EQS luxury sedans, which are expected to have a starting price of around $110,000 and $103,000, respectively.

What are the benefits and challenges of Drive Pilot?

Drive Pilot has several benefits for drivers, passengers, and society at large. Some of these benefits are:

  • Improved safety.
  • Increased comfort.
  • Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot also has some challenges and limitations that need to be addressed before it can be widely adopted and accepted. 

Conclusion

Drive Pilot is a game-changer for Mercedes-Benz and for the automotive industry as a whole. It is a major step towards fully autonomous driving, which promises to improve safety, efficiency, convenience, and mobility for millions worldwide. Drive Pilot is also a testament to Mercedes-Benz’s vision of “The best or nothing,” which reflects its commitment to innovation, excellence, and customer satisfaction.

Suppose you are interested in experiencing Drive Pilot for yourself. In that case, you can visit your nearest Mercedes-Benz dealer or visit their website to learn more about this groundbreaking technology and how it can transform your driving experience. @via Panorica.

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