The Mercedes-Benz booth at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) showcased a bunch of new technology the German brand is preparing for the following months.
The biggest piece of news was the company’s plan to build its own, $1-billion global network of fast chargers, but another interesting story sort of went under the radar, and it’s about Mercedes-Benz becoming the first automaker to offer certified Level 3 self-driving technology in the U.S.
In 2022, the German marque began selling its top-tier autonomous driving system, dubbed Drive Pilot, in Germany, after receiving the first-ever certificate of compliance for an OEM.
Now, during CES 2023, Mercedes announced its Drive Pilot system has been approved by the state of Nevada and it’s waiting for it to issue the official certificate of compliance, which should happen “within the two weeks,” according to the company’s press release.
But that’s not all. When the German carmaker applied for certification in Nevada, it also did the same thing in California, and it’s “optimistic” the Golden State will “follow soon."
Mercedes’ Level 3 conditionally automated driving assistant can, on suitable highway sections and where traffic density is high, offer to take over the driving, leaving the driver free to do something else, like watch a movie or participate in a meeting.
Another feature coming to North America is Automatic Lane Change (ALC), which enables the car to automatically initiate a lane change and overtake slower vehicles with the cruise control system. It can also make automatic lane changes to help follow route guidance when approaching exit ramps or freeway junctions.
ALC will be part of Mercedes’ current Level 2 partially automated driving suite available in the U.S.
According to the SAE levels of driving automation, a Level 3-capable vehicle can take over certain driving tasks, but a driver is still required to be present and ready to take control of the car at all times when prompted to intervene. Currently, Drive Pilot is available in Europe on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS sedans.