First manufacturer in Germany: Mercedes now sells self-driving cars

First producer in Germany
Mercedes now sells self-driving cars

Anyone who has always wanted to watch TV behind the wheel might consider buying a Mercedes. The carmaker is the first in Germany to start selling its highly automated driving system. However, there are clear rules under which the car owner has to steer himself.

Mercedes is the first manufacturer in Germany to start selling a highly automated driving system capable of fully taking over slow-motion traffic on the motorway. For the S-Class it costs 5000 euros plus VAT, as announced by the group. With the EQS electric model, a whopping 7,400 euros excluding VAT are due because a driver assistance package must be booked.

Until now, driver assistance systems have been used in cars, which can relieve the driver of various tasks such as staying in the lane or maintaining a safe distance. However, people remain responsible and have to keep their hands on the wheel. This applies, for example, to Tesla’s autopilot assistance system. Mercedes was the first carmaker in Germany to receive approval to operate a system that allows the driver to give up control in certain situations and watch TV, for example. However, he must be ready to take back control at any moment.

The use of the system called “Drive Pilot” is limited to very specific situations due to legal requirements. It works only on the motorway, at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour and only if the distance from the vehicle in front is not too great. If the system recognizes that the requirements are met, it can be activated by the driver. While Drive Pilot drives the car, the responsibility rests with Mercedes. When the system asks the driver to regain control, it has up to ten seconds to do so.

There are other restrictions. Drive Pilot should drive on construction sites. However, Mercedes initially forgoes this in consideration of the additional complexity. According to the legal requirements, a car in automatic mode must remain in its lane. If, for example, a lane change is required at a motorway interchange, the car must hand over control to the driver. Mercedes VP in charge Georges Massing assumes that the legal leeway will be expanded if the systems prove their worth in everyday life and build trust: “There will be pressure on the system from the market and from all angles, so that there will be more gets freedom “.

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