Mercedes strongly believes in the development of autonomous driving. If the star company is already offering level 3 autonomous driving on its cars, it believes level 4 technology will be accessible before the end of the decade. A completely different strategy than Elon Musk who wants Teslas to be 100% autonomous as soon as possible.
slowing down on autonomous driving, like Ford, which still offers the best system according to a Consumer Reports study, others are much more invested. We immediately think of Tesla, which is about to deploy its Hardware 4 to improve the performance of its FSD (fully self-driving), as it begins to roll out its camera-based Tesla Vision system.
Mercedes believes in it
But Elon Musk’s company, which organized its Investor Day yesterday, is still a bit behind by legally limiting itself to level 2. Tesla faces very stiff competition from a European manufacturer. . This is Mercedes, which is also actively involved in the development of autonomous driving, through the Drive Pilot system.
The latter is currently the first to be approved in Europe for level 3 autonomous driving. It has also just been approved in Nevada, allowing the star company to overtake Tesla. Indeed, the FSD, technical level 3, but legal level 2, which we were able to test, is currently still in beta testing in the United States.
And it could be that Mercedes is still preparing to take a further lead over its American rival. In fact, the manufacturer would already be working on the development of a level 4 autonomous system. According to Markus Schäfer, chief engineer passed by Automotive newsthis one could be better be achieved before the end of the decade. A deadline has also been announced for the arrival of fixed batteries on production cars.
As a reminder, level 4 differs from the previous one in this the driver no longer has to check whether everything is going well while driving. Also known as ” eyes off / hands off / mind off”, at this level you can rest, read or work while the vehicle is moving. Thus, it is possible to remove the steering wheel and pedals, as is the case with certain autonomous shuttles such as those of Hyundai in Korea or Waymo.
At level 4, if there is a problem during the journey, the car will not ask to take control, unlike level 3. But level 4 can only be activated on certain roads or areas, unlike level 5 which can be activated anywhere .
A few more hurdles
According to the Mercedes spokesman, there is indeed a demand for this type of technology, especially in China where traffic is very congested and where traffic jams can last several hours. This system would also make it possible to eliminate “ghost traffic jams”, which arise for no apparent reason and are caused by the erratic driving of other motorists.
To develop this technology, Mercedes will undoubtedly be able to count on the recently signed partnership with the American company Luminar Tech. The latter has just unveiled a brand new LiDAR sensor that offers greater range, making it possible to improve Level 3 autonomous driving.
As a reminder, this technology has already been authorized in Europe and France since this summer with a maximum speed of 130 km/h, although the Drive Pilot is limited to 90 km/h, which could change with this new LiDAR. This system is currently only available on the Mercedes EQS and S-Class.
However, some legal hurdles still need to be overcome. Indeed, to offer level 4 to customers, it must first be homologated and approved by the authorities of the different countries. This is already partly done in Germany, where a law allows it in certain specific public areas.
The question of liability also arises, since in this case it is the manufacturer who must bear the consequences in the event of an accident. This should deter many people, including Tesla, which therefore does not want to offer its FSD in Europe for the time being, while several investigations into its Autopilot are already underway in the United States. Brands will need to be completely confident in their technologies before they can offer them to their customers.
Recall that Elon announces Musk the arrival of years of 100% autonomous driving while we are still waiting.
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