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Mercedes achieves SAE Level 3 self-driving certification in California, but there’s a catch

Published Jun 8th, 2023 6:55PM EDT
Mercedes self-driving in California
Image: Mercedes-Benz

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Tesla might have some catching up to do in the area of self-driving. No, really. I’m serious.

While Tesla still considers its Full Self-Driving system a beta, Mercedes has been getting regulatory approval for SAE Level 3 certification for multiple states in the United States. The company has now achieved conditional self-driving certification in California, the first automaker in the country to do so.

According to the press release, the system will be allowed to take over “On suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density…up to speeds of 40 mph.”

The control buttons required for this are located on the steering wheel rim, on the left and right above the thumb recesses. Once conditions are suitable, the system indicates availability on the control buttons. When the driver activates DRIVE PILOT, the system controls the speed and distance, and effortlessly guides the vehicle within its lane. The route profile, events occurring on the route and traffic signs are correspondingly taken into consideration. The system also reacts to unexpected traffic situations and handles them independently through evasive maneuvers within the lane or by braking maneuvers for example.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes‑Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, said in a statement that “Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT is the world’s only SAE Level 3 system with internationally valid type approval.”

“It builds on a very robust foundation, setting new industry standards. DRIVE PILOT uses a highly sophisticated vehicle architecture based on redundancy with a multitude of sensors enabling comfortable and safe conditionally automated driving. The certification by the authorities in California and in Nevada once again confirms that redundancy is the safe and thus the right approach.”

California is the second state that Mercedes achieved SAE Level 3 certification. The company already self-certified in the state of Nevada back in January. While Mercedes might be ahead in the game of regulatory approvals, Tesla still has the most popular car in the world with the Model Y.

Joe Wituschek Tech News Contributor

Joe Wituschek is a Tech News Contributor for BGR.

With expertise in tech that spans over 10 years, Joe covers the technology industry's breaking news, opinion pieces and reviews.