Mercedes beats Tesla again in self-driving, but it’s not that simple

With the approval of Level 3 autonomous driving in Nevada and California, Mercedes became the first manufacturer to use this technology on US roads. Thus, the German brand is once again ahead of Tesla, La

Mercedes-Benz EQS

If autonomous driving has been in the pipeline of many manufacturers for many years, things have accelerated recently. And for good reason, the technology has advanced significantly with the arrival of new, more efficient sensors like LiDAR, which has been adopted by several brands like Volvo and its EX90. All but Ford, which threw in the towel, fought fiercely to offer the most advanced level of autonomy on the market. And for now, is an award-winning European manufacturer.

New confirmation

It’s Mercedes that currently offers Level 3 autonomous driving on two of its models, the EQS and S-Class. The latter is the most efficient currently available in a series model, thus making it possible let the car drive itself without touching the steering wheel. However, you need to be able to take control if needed.

Today, this technology is allowed on European roads from July 2022. Since the decision was made on September 1, France will take a little longer to approve it. But this system can be used only under certain conditions, on roads inaccessible to pedestrians and cyclists and equipped with central reservation. In addition, the speed is limited to 60 km/h.

Mercedes driver pilot
Mercedes Drive Pilot: Level 3 autonomous driving

So if you can drive hands-free on the Old Continent (but only in Germany on a Mercedes), it’s the same in the US. Indeed, and as stated in the press release, Mercedes just announced during the ongoing CES in Las Vegas that its Tier 3 technology is approved in Nevada and California. Thus, the star-studded brand becomes the first in the United States to receive this approval, ahead of Tesla.

Indeed, Elon Musk’s firm offers autonomous driving technology known as FSD (full self-driving), but it’s still in beta testing, approved as an entry-level system.2 from Mercedes, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist. unlike using LiDAR.

However, note that Mercedes Drive Pilot is actually less advanced than Tesla FSD. The latter could technically be considered Level 3 or even Level 4 autonomous driving.

Some limitations and a very practical function

This Drive Pilot system, which is offered as an option in Germany, can therefore be used under certain conditions identical to those for Europe. So only on the highway, at a speed of 60 km/h. This is the maximum the device is approved for, despite Germany allowing up to 130 km/h from January 1. The brand has not announced a possible update date.

Mercedes also used CES to announce a new feature coming to its range: automatic lane change. When the cruise control is activated, the car can automatically overtake another car and return to its own lane, keeping a safe distance. This technology used with on-board navigation makes this possible go on the exit ramp or push between two highways without driver intervention.

Autopilot navigation in France – Spring 2021

— Bob Jouy (@bobjouy) March 24, 2021

However, this feature is not new because Tesla already offers it with Level 2 Autopilot In the US, before FSD. In France, only the Mercedes EQS and S-Class will be able to benefit from this, as this system is not allowed below level 3. But a few years ago, the American brand actually offered this feature on the Old Continent. Before facing reprimand from the German government, our editor Bob can be seen in the video above.

By comparison, Tesla’s FSD autonomous driving can be used on any road in the US and is therefore less restrictive than Mercedes’ system, as seen in the video below. If an accident occurs, it is the driver who will be responsible in Tesla. With the Mercedes system, liability is transferred to the car, and therefore to the manufacturer. The size difference showing the two different philosophies of Mercedes and Tesla.

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