Mercedes-Benz has become the first automaker to be certified for Level 3 self-driving in the United States.
In a press release, the company announced the self-certification, which has specifically been achieved in the state of Nevada. Level 3 self-driving, also known as “conditional automation,” means that the vehicle is able to perform all aspects of driving, but the driver must be ready to take control at any time. This level of automation is considered to be a significant step towards fully autonomous vehicles, as it allows for the vehicle to handle a wide range of driving tasks while still requiring human oversight.
For Mercedes-Benz, the DRIVE PILOT system will work on “suitable freeway sections and where there is high traffic density” and that it can “take over the dynamic driving task, up to the speed of 40 mph.” Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz’s Chief Technology Officer, said that the company’s SAE Level 3 certification in Nevada “marks the start of its international rollout and, with it, the dawning of a new era.”
“In the modern world, time is one of the most precious commodities, and giving back time to our customers is a core element in our strategy to build the world’s most desirable cars. Our DRIVE PILOT takes a major step forward in achieving that, and places us at the very forefront of innovation in the crucially important field of automated driving. DRIVE PILOT demonstrates once more that our pioneering spirit is part of our DNA. Certification in Nevada marks the start of its international rollout and, with it, the dawning of a new era.”
Mercedes-Benz says that it is already working to expand its SAE Level 3 certification to the state of California. The DRIVE PILOT will be available on the 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS Sedan. The first customers are expected to receive delivery in the second half of 2023.
The news comes weeks after Mercedes-Benz also announced a partnership with ChargePoint to build thousands of EV fast chargers across North America.