Home » Mercedes-Benz’s EQS Will Be the First Car With Level 3 Semi-Autonomous Driving in the U.S.

Mercedes-Benz’s EQS Will Be the First Car With Level 3 Semi-Autonomous Driving in the U.S.

by multimill
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There is at least one aspect of the EV race where Tesla isn’t ahead of the pack.

The Mercedes-Benz EQS will be the first vehicle to offer semi-autonomous driving in the U.S. later this year, according to The Drive. The German marque’s Drive Pilot conditional driver automation system is the first to receive regulatory approval for operation stateside, beating out similar technology from Tesla and Honda.

Drive Pilot is a Level 3 semi-autonomous driving system that “handles all aspects of the driving task while you, as the driver, are available to take over driving if requested,” according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration website. This “conditional automation” means that the person sitting in the driver seat can be doing basically anything they want, including reading a book or watching videos on the vehicle’s infotainment system, as long as they’re ready to take over should conditions change.

Inside a Mercedes-Benz EQS with Drive Pilot

Deniz Calagan/Mercedes-Benz

Mercedes says that its system, which will be available on both the EQS and its gas-powered equivalent, the S-Class, can operate a vehicle at speeds of less than 40 mph on “suitable freeway sections and during high traffic density.” Because it is a Level 3 (or conditional) system, it will ask its human driver to take over if the flow of traffic picks up, road conditions change or it detects an emergency vehicle.

The system is technically already available on the EQS and S-Class, but can only be used in Germany. It will now be available in the U.S. after regulators in California and Nevada approved the system for operation on their roads. Why did Mercedes seek approval from these two states? Both have their fair share of traffic. California’s high EV adoption rate probably didn’t hurt, either.

Drive Pilot will make its debut on roads in California and Nevada later this year on a fleet of EQS sedans. Deliveries of 2024 model year vehicles with the feature will begin in early 2024. The technology will not come standard, though. Instead, it will be available as a subscription service that starts at $2,500 for the first year. That is a similar price to Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” technology—which caused the recall of 360,000 EVs earlier this year.Tthe difference is that Drive Pilot actually offers Level 3 semi-autonomous driving.

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