Mercedes-Benz will next year introduce what it considers the world’s first semi-autonomous driving system on the German market after receiving regulatory approval, the carmaker announced on Thursday, potentially paving the way for the Daimler AG subsidiary to begin offering its Drive Pilot system elsewhere around the world.
The system allows the driver to focus on other activities while the car is in heavy traffic or on congested highways, the German car manufacturer said in a statement.
“With this milestone, we are once again proving our pioneering work in automated driving and also initiating a radical paradigm shift,” Daimler Chief Technology Officer Markus Schäfer said.
Schäfer also said that as soon as legislation in China and the United States was in place, Mercedes-Benz would offer the system in those markets too.
The announcement comes after Germany’s Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) gave the green light to the system which will be offered on the high-end Mercedes-Benz S-Class luxury sedan in the first half of 2022. Historically, Mercedes has tended to introduce its technological innovations on this long-running model first. It’s by no means the most accessible new Mercedes, costing a minimum of € 126,830 (around $ 143,000) on the German market after taxes.
The KBA approved the system based on technical requirements laid out by the United Nations.
“The KBA is setting national, European and international standards in road safety on the road to autonomous driving,” said KBA President Richard Damm in a press release.
Capped at 60 kilometers per hour
According to Mercedes-Benz, there are over 13,100 kilometers (8,140 miles) of highway suitable for the Drive Pilot system in Germany.
The KBA gave the system the all-clear for driving speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour (37 miles per hour). Germany’s motor watchdog has yet to decide whether to approve it for speeds of up to 130 kilometers per hour, or a lane-change assistant that would automate overtaking another car.
jsi / msh (Reuters, dpa)
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