Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot Launched in Germany – Level 3 Automatic Driving Technology

Mercedes-Benz will begin offering its drive pilot system on May 17, 2022, as an optional addition to the latest S-Class and EQS. The German carmaker became the world’s first automotive company to meet the legal requirements of the United Nations. – R157 for a SAE Level 3 autonomous driving system in December last year.

Following SAE International’s description of Level 3 automatic driving, referred to as “conditional driving automation”, drivers do not require technical supervision and may engage in other activities while the system is active. However, a driver must be present, alert and able to take control of the vehicle at any time, especially in an emergency due to system failure.

According to Mercedes-Benz, the drive pilot allows “conditional automatic driving”, which allows owners to transfer the driving task to the system under certain conditions. As the company explains, these conditions are “stuck in heavy traffic or congestion conditions at speeds of up to 60 km / h in the appropriate motorway section in Germany.”

Thus, while driving the car itself, the driver can “rest or work and get back valuable time,” the company said. Note that this can only be used in the “appropriate motorway section”, as Mercedes-Benz previously stated that there are 13,191 kilometers of approved motorways in Germany.

The Drive Pilot Driving Assist package builds on vehicle sensing technology and includes additional sensors for safe operation. These include radar, LiDAR, cameras as well as ultrasound and humidity sensors installed in strategic locations of vehicles. A high-precision positioning system based on a digital HD map also ensures that the system has a 3D image of the road and surroundings with information on road geometry, route characteristics, traffic signs and information on special traffic events.

The collected data is constantly updated and compared with a backend system to ensure that the drive is given the best possible information to facilitate decision making. Mercedes-Benz has opted for “supervised learning” instead of just using algorithms (self-learning methods) to address issues such as pedestrian identification.

For example, car manufacturers define and control what artificial intelligence (AI) is allowed to learn, and as part of its ethical requirements, the detection process is not discriminatory – meaning that various sensors are constantly monitored on the road and along the road for detection. People fit properly, regardless of their clothing, body size, posture or other characteristics.

Even with all the sensors and AI training, redundancy is still important for conditional automatic driving. The redundancy architecture covers parts of the brake system, steering, power supply as well as sensor technology. Also, unnecessary arrangements have been made for batteries, steering motors, wheel speed sensors and various algorithms used by the system to calculate data.

However, if an error occurs, the vehicle cannot move due to its unneeded system design, which allows the drive pilot to be safely handed over to the driver. If the driver still does not comply within 10 seconds, for example, due to a medical emergency, the drive pilot will initiate an emergency stop that is safe for both vehicles and the following traffic.

If something goes wrong, the company has previously stated that legal liability in such situations is consistent with the requirements set by regulators, not the driver of the drive pilot-activated vehicle.

In Germany, the drive pilot option for the S-Class will cost 5,000 euros (RM22,965), while for the EQS it will cost 7,430 euros (RM34,125) – the latter is more expensive because it also includes the required driving assistance package plus 2,430 euros (RM11, 165) for.

Following its successful launch in Germany, Mercedes-Benz aims to gain regulatory approval for two U.S. states, California and Nevada, by the end of the year, if legal conditions allow the system to operate.

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