German automaker pioneers Level 3 testing on Chinese highways
Mercedes-Benz has secured a crucial permit to test its conditionally automated driving (Level 3) technology on Beijing’s highways, marking a significant step towards bringing self-driving cars to China’s bustling streets. This approval positions Mercedes as a frontrunner in the race to revolutionize Chinese transportation.
Global Expertise, Local Touch
Mercedes boasts extensive experience in automated driving, dating back to 1986 with adaptive cruise control testing. Building on this legacy, the company received the world’s first international system approval for Level 3 driving in December 2021. Its DRIVE PILOT system is already available in Germany and the U.S.
In China, Mercedes isn’t simply replicating its global strategy. The company actively integrates its global R&D expertise with a dedicated local team, collaborating with partners and adapting to China’s unique traffic regulations and infrastructure. This commitment ensures tailored solutions for Chinese customers.
Safety First, Convenience Always
The Level 3 DRIVE PILOT system prioritizes safety above all else. Redundant steering, braking, and electrical systems guarantee maneuverability even in case of malfunctions. Additionally, advanced sensors like LiDAR, cameras, and microphones enhance situational awareness, especially for detecting emergency vehicles and adapting to weather conditions.
For drivers, DRIVE PILOT offers a glimpse into the future of mobility. During automated driving segments, they can relax, work, or enjoy entertainment, making commutes more productive and enjoyable.
Gradual Rollout, Continuous Improvement
Mercedes takes a cautious approach, gradually expanding DRIVE PILOT’s capabilities. While aiming for freeway speeds of up to 130 km/h by the end of the decade, the company plans to introduce intermediate steps. In Germany, the next phase will involve a system capable of handling 90 km/h while following another vehicle.
In China, the focus is on adapting DRIVE PILOT to the country’s specific road markings, construction zones, and special lanes. Local R&D efforts have been crucial in optimizing the system for these unique conditions.
China R&D: A Strategic Investment
Mercedes recognizes the importance of China’s market and has steadily invested in its R&D capabilities there. Since 2005, the company has built a robust network, including new centers in Beijing and Shanghai. By the end of 2023, the China R&D team is expected to reach 2,000 members, reflecting the company’s commitment to local innovation.
This dedication extends beyond just technology. Mercedes actively collaborates with local universities like Tsinghua on sustainable mobility solutions, further contributing to China’s technological advancement.
Paving the Way for Intelligent Transportation
Mercedes’ foray into Level 3 testing in Beijing signifies a major step towards the future of intelligent connected vehicles in China. With its safety-first approach, tailored solutions, and commitment to local R&D, Mercedes is well-positioned to lead the charge in transforming China’s transportation landscape.