Mercedes Promises To Roll Out Some Autonomous Driving Features This Year

Mercedes is planning on introducing its autonomous driving technology “Drive Pilot” in the U.S. by the end of the year.
Written by Serena Aburahma
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Mercedes
announced recently that it plans to hop on the self-driving bandwagon in the near future. Its goal is to roll out new technology that it claims will take your typical
autonomous driving
features to the next level. Some wonder, however, how likely these plans are to come to fruition in the U.S. 

Mercedes has a plan to introduce Drive Pilot technology in the U.S. 

The self-driving technology that Mercedes has developed is known as Drive Pilot. As
Kelley Blue Book
reports, Mercedes CEO Ola Kallenius has indicated that the company hopes to introduce the technology in the U.S. market by the end of this year. 
Drive Pilot would be available with S-Class and EQS vehicles. Plans for the rollout are not yet firmly in place, however. 
While the technology has been available in Germany since December, it is currently being held up in the U.S. This is mainly because of some regulatory hurdles that the company will have to overcome before being allowed to sell cars in the country. 
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What is Drive Pilot capable of?

The regulations in question relate to the company's ability to safely implement what is known as “level 3 autonomy”.  
Mercedes claims that its Drive Pilot technology will meet the standards of level 3, which means that the car can drive autonomously under certain conditions but that the driver should be ready to retake control at any time.
Level 3 technology is right in the middle of the pack when it comes to levels of autonomy. At level 1, vehicles offer simple lane maintenance technology that still requires the driver to keep their hands on the wheel. Level 5 implies full self-driving capability. 
At level 3, Ride Pilot is designed to operate when the vehicle is moving under 37 mph. It's ideal for letting drivers rest when caught in a traffic jam, for example. With Drive Pilot, drivers should be able to engage in "certain secondary activities," such as checking email, according to Kallenius.
MORE: Mercedes is Pledging to Go EV-Only by the End of the Decade

Automakers usually keep their self-driving claims modest

Should Mercedes get the go-ahead from regulators to market its Ride Pilot in the U.S., it would be the first company to offer Level 3 self-driving capabilities in the country. (Volvo is also hoping to offer similar technology, although at this time nothing has been confirmed for it either.)
In truth, there are probably a number of companies out there that offer technology that could be considered Level 3. GM's Ultra Cruise, which is expected to be introduced in the near future, is one such vehicle. 
Most companies, even when they offer technology that could be considered Level 3, tend to stick to referring to it as Level 2. This is likely due to a desire to avoid liability if the technology failed to live up to Level 3 hype in every instance. 
The one company that has clearly been less than modest is Tesla, which has continued to refer to its
”full self-driving" capabilities
when in fact its vehicles only meet the standards of Level 2. 
MORE: The G Wagon 6x6 Is Made to Dominate the Road

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