The first Mercedes-Benz customers will be able to buy an S-Class with Drive Pilot the first half of 2022, enabling them to drive in conditionally-automated mode at speeds of up to 60 km/h (37 mph) in heavy traffic or congested situations on suitable stretches of highway in Germany.
During the conditionally automated journey, Drive Pilot allows the driver to take their mind off the traffic and focus on certain secondary activities, “be it communicating with colleagues via in-car office, surfing the internet or relaxing while watching a film,” Mercedes said in a statement. In Drive Pilot mode, applications can be enabled on the vehicle's integrated central display that are otherwise blocked while driving.
The system meets Germany’s legal requirements of UN-R157 for a Level 3 system, according to Mercedes.
"For many years, we have been working to realize our vision of automated driving," says Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz AG, chief technology officer responsible for development and purchasing. "With this LiDAR-based system, we have developed an innovative technology for our vehicles that offers customers a unique, luxurious driving experience and gives them what matters most: time."
Mercedes-Benz is initially offering Drive Pilot on 8,197 miles of highway in Germany. Test drives are also underway in the U.S. and China.