Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT: the world’s first certified Level 3 system

In conditional automated driving (level 3), safety and reliability are priorities Mercedes Benz. Its “DRIVE PILOT” system is actually based on an architecture that allows you to manage all possible situations in complete safety. Thus, brake, steering, power supply and sensor system parts are designed with physical and functional care. With this safety-oriented approach to system design, Mercedes-Benz is setting new benchmarks in autonomous driving. DRIVE PILOT, the first internationally certified system, is available as an option on the S-Class and EQS in Germany from May 17, 2022.

The four main elements of the architecture already include the braking system, steering, power supply and some sensors. This includes environmental recognition and processing. The battery, steering motor, wheel speed sensors and algorithms used by the system to calculate data are also replicated. Certain aspects of the sensor system are also functionally redundant, as their different physical concepts (including optical, ultrasonic, radio waves) support each other, thus ensuring safe operation at all times. This mainly includes radars, cameras and LiDAR. However, ultrasonic and humidity sensors, as well as microphones, also provide valuable information. It provides more than 30 sensors in total DRIVING confidently masters the task of driving.

“The Mercedes-Benz name has always been synonymous with safety. We are already setting standards in the development and implementation of autonomous driving systems such as DRIVE PILOT. We believe that redundancy is the right approach for Level 3 automated driving and beyond. As for sensors, we also consider the use of LiDAR to be particularly necessary alongside radars and cameras. We can compensate for the conventional shortcomings of one sensor with the characteristics of another. Relying on just one type of sensor did not meet Mercedes-Benz’s high safety standards,” says Markus Schaefer, Member of the Board of Management, Head of Technology, Development and Purchasing, Mercedes-Benz Group AG.

After activating DRIVE PILOT, the system monitors speed and distance and keeps the car in its lane. Under certain conditions and on suitable German motorways, customers can leave the system behind the wheel when traveling in heavy traffic or at speeds up to 60 km/h. In the event of an unlikely failure of one of the main systems, the architecture of the DRIVE PILOT system is able to recognize the situation and facilitate the safe transfer of control to the driver. Even if the driver is unable to regain control quickly, for example due to medical assistance, DRIVE PILOT carries out a careful emergency stop maneuver that does not pose any danger to oncoming traffic.

Mercedes-Benz is at the forefront of automated driving and safety technologies

Since the invention of the automobile in 1886, Mercedes-Benz has repeatedly set benchmarks in automotive safety through innovative technologies. Safety is one of the core values โ€‹โ€‹of the brand. That’s why Mercedes-Benz has been offering advanced Level 2 driver assistance systems in its cars for years. They can improve road safety and make everyday life much easier. For example, they help control speed and distance, steer and change lanes. In December 2021, Mercedes-Benz became the first car manufacturer in the world to receive international system approval for Level 3 conditional autonomous driving. In Germany, DRIVE PILOT is available on the S-Class and EQS from May 17, 2021. for parking, the brand has gone even further with the pre-installation of INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT for future driverless, Level 4 fully automated parking assistance.

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