the German manufacturer is less impatient than Elon Musk

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Mercedes strongly believes in the development of autonomous driving. If the flagship firm already offers level 3 autonomous driving in its cars, it believes that level 4 technology will be accessible before the end of the decade. A totally different strategy from that of Elon Musk who wants Tesla to be 100% autonomous as soon as possible.

If some manufacturers have decided

Slow down on autonomous driving, like Ford still offering the best system according to a Consumer Reports study, others are far more committed. Then we immediately think of Tesla, which is about to inaugurate its Hardware 4 by improving the performance of its FSD (complete self-driving), as it begins to implement its camera-based Tesla Vision system.

Mercedes believes in it

But Elon Musk’s firm, which organized its Investor Day yesterday, is also a bit behind, as it is legally limited to level 2. Tesla must face very tough competition from a European manufacturer. This is Mercedes, which is also actively working on 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 firm to overtake Tesla. In fact, the FSD, technically level 3, but legally level 2, which we had the opportunity to test, is currently still in beta testing in the United States.

Mercedes driving pilot
Mercedes driving pilot

And it could be that Mercedes is still preparing to take an extra 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 transmitted by automotive newsthis could quite achieved before the end of the decade. A deadline for the arrival of solid batteries in production cars was also announced.

As a reminder, level 4 differs from the previous one in that the driver no longer needs to check that everything is going well when driving. Also know as ” eyes out / hands out / mind out”, this level allows you to rest, read or work while the vehicle is in motion. Thus, it is possible to remove the steering wheel and pedals, as is the case with certain autonomous ferries such as those of Hyundai in Korea or Waymo.

Avec le level 4, en cas de probleme sur le trajet, la voiture ne va pas vous demander de reprendre la main, contrairement au level 3. Mais le level 4 est activable only sur certains routes ou zones contrairement au level 5 qui porra être activated anywhere.

still some obstacles

According to the Mercedes spokesman, there is demand for this type of technology, especially in China where the 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 form for no apparent reason and are caused by the irregular driving of other motorists.

In order to develop this technology, Mercedes will undoubtedly be able to count on its recently signed partnership with the American company Luminar Tech. The latter has just presented a new LiDAR sensor that offers a greater range, allowing for improved level 3 autonomous driving.

mercedes benz eqs

As a reminder, this technology is already authorized in Europe and France since this summer at 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. In fact, for level 4 to be offered to customers, it must first be approved and approved by the authorities of the different countries. This is already partly done in Germany, where a law authorizes 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 chill a lot of people, including Tesla, which therefore doesn’t want to offer its FSD in Europe for the time being when it’s already under various investigations in the US regarding its Autopilot. Brands will need to be completely sure of their technologies before offering them to their customers.

Remember that Elon Musk has been announcing the arrival of 100% autonomous driving for years while we are still waiting for it.

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