Mercedes-Benz has achieved another milestone for its autonomous driving technology. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) granted approval on Thursday for the company’s automated driving system to operate on designated highways under specific conditions, without the need for active driver control.
The system, known as ‘DRIVE PILOT,’ is classified as a Level 3 autonomous driving system. It allows drivers to legally divert their attention from the road while the vehicle handles the driving tasks. Nevertheless, drivers must remain ready to resume control of the vehicle if necessary.
With this permit, first reported by Reuters, Mercedes-Benz has been granted permission to offer its ‘DRIVE PILOT’ system on California highways in several key regions, including the Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and San Diego. Additionally, it can be utilized on interstate highways connecting Southern California to Nevada.
There are some conditions that come with the approval however as the system is limited to operation on the above mentioned highways during daylight hours only, and at speeds not exceeding 40mph (64km/h).
This achievement marks Mercedes-Benz as the first automaker authorized to sell or lease cars with a Level 3 automated driving system to the public in California. This approval comes after Mercedes-Benz received approval earlier this year to deploy DRIVE PILOT on the roads of Nevada.