With recent approval from California regulators, Mercedes-Benz is another step closer to releasing its “hands-off, eyes-off” vehicles.
- While not as sophisticated as the technology in other autonomous vehicles like Waymo and Cruise, Mercedes’ self-driving technology is a big step toward allowing consumers to own driverless cars.
- Unlike other autonomous vehicles, Mercedes’ systems are meant for the public, not just a taxi service like Waymo and Cruise, The Future Party reports.
- Now that California regulators have approved use of the technology, it is one of the first leaps forward in bringing autonomous driving to the average consumer.
Why it’s news
Some driverless technology is already on the road in select locations, but these services are for rideshares and taxis. Companies like Tesla offer some driverless technology, but Mercedes’ new vehicle will bring “hands-off, eyes-off” systems to the public.
California regulators have approved the Mercedes vehicle for drivers to actually take their eyes off the road, allowing them to perform other tasks while the car drives itself, The Future Party reports.
Mercedes can now sell and lease vehicles equipped with Drive Pilot, a Level 3 autonomous driving system. Using this technology, drivers can text, watch videos, or chat with passengers, all without worrying about watching where the vehicle is going or even touching the wheel.
While driving a Tesla in Autopilot mode, the driver must keep his hands on the steering wheel.
Though it has received approval, Drive Pilot still has precautions in place. It can only be used at 40 miles per hour, during daylight hours, and on freeways. While drivers cannot go speeding down the freeway hands-free, they can navigate a traffic jam on their way home from work without touching the steering wheel, The Future Party reports.
The Mercedes Drive Pilot system is already in use in Germany and Nevada. The company has taken a cautious approach to implementing the technology, applying for permission in every state, whether required or not.