Carson City/Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will be the first automotive company to bring SAE Level 3 conditionally automated driving to the United States, with Nevada being the first state to confirm compliance with state regulations. The Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system will be the first and only SAE Level 3 system in a standard-production vehicle authorized for use on U.S. public freeways.
“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,” said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, responsible for Development and Procurement.
DRIVE PILOT will be available in the U.S. market as an option for model year 2024 Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS Sedan models, with the first cars delivered to customers in the second half of 2023. The system will be able to take over the dynamic driving task on suitable freeway sections and in high-traffic density situations, up to the speed of 40 mph. The system also includes a LiDAR sensor, redundant systems, and a high-precision positioning system for safe operation.
“An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning. It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the U.S. market,” said Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA.
Mercedes-Benz plans to expand to California later this year with the certification documents already filed with state authorities. During the conditionally automated journey, DRIVE PILOT allows the driver to take their mind off the traffic and focus on certain secondary activities. Initially introduced in Germany in May 2022, the Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT system was the first SAE Level 3 system in the world to meet the demanding legal requirements of UN-R157.