2024 Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan and S-Class Will Debut Drive Pilot in the U.S.

mercedes benz eqs sedan with drive pilot level 3 autonomous system
'24 EQS, S-Class Bring Level 3 Autonomy to AmericaMercedes-Benz
  • For 2024, the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan and S-Class will be the first U.S. models to have Level 3 autonomous driving.

  • The Level 3 system (called Drive Pilot) lets the car handle most driving duties but requires the driver to be able to take over at any time.

  • Mercedes already launched Drive Pilot in Germany, and now it's been approved for use in America, starting with Nevada.

With Mercedes-Benz today announcing it's the first automaker approved to use its Level 3 autonomous system in America, some of us will finally have access to hands-free driving, in certain conditions, of course.

Drive Pilot is what Mercedes calls its Level 3 system, and the technology is set to make its U.S. debut as an option on the 2024 EQS and S-class sedans. Drive Pilot allows the driver to hand over primary duties to the car, meaning they don't have to touch the steering wheel or constantly watch the road on compatible thoroughfares. This is distinct from Level 2 systems such as GM's Super Cruise, which have monitoring systems to make sure the driver is looking at the road. However, even in the Mercedes system, the driver must be ready to re-take control of the car at any time if it's unable to drive itself.

mercedes benz eqs sedan with drive pilot level 3 autonomous system
mercedes benz eqs sedan with drive pilot level 3 autonomous system

Guiding Drive Pilot is a mix of GPS, lidar, myriad sensors, and more. It only works at speeds up to 40 mph. If any system fails, Mercedes says there are braking and steering fail-safes to safely maintain control of the car until the driver regains control. If the driver is unable to do so in the allotted time, the system is said to bring the car to a complete stop, activate the hazard lights, and contact emergency services.

Mercedes launched Drive Pilot in Germany back in May 2022. For now, Nevada is the only U.S. state where Drive Pilot has received regulatory approval. However, Mercedes says it's currently working on earning approval in California with the hope that it'll be certified sometime later in 2023.

The 2024 EQS sedan and S-class models are expected to start being delivered to customers in the second half of this year.

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