Mercedes becomes the first company to accept full legal responsibility for a vehicle whenever their autonomous driving software is active.
Drive Pilot is a semi-autonomous piloting system that can take control of the car’s speed, steering and brakes to move you along in traffic.
The program only works on certain highways below 40 mph.
However, unlike Tesla’s Autopilot or General Motor’s SuperCruise, once you engage Drive Pilot, you are no longer legally liable for the car’s operation until it disengages.
This means you can look away, read a book or even zone out on the highway.
The software is already in operation on all German highways.
Mercedes is hopeful they can release Drive Pilot in the US later this year.
Mercedes built Drive Pilot with redundancies in mind. It has additional power supplies to critical systems, increased image processing and LiDAR scanners, and multiple satellite systems for GPS.
The system also gives a 10-second warning before switching off to ensure drivers know they will need to resume control.
The system is still limited and requires takeover if the vehicle is operating in inclement weather, through construction zones, tunnels or if the car sees an emergency vehicle.
Currently, Drive Pilot is the only Level 3 system in operation. Full Self-Driving from Tesla has all the features to go Level 3. However, as it requires drivers to intervene when needed, it remains Level 2.