Mercedes first to win approval for hands-free driving system in Germany

Daimler AG’s Mercedes Benz has won approval to deploy a hands-free driving system in Germany, Bloomberg News reported.

The company reported Thursday that it will be able to sell its Drive Pilot package for use on stretches on Germany’s Autobahn network, which will clock in at a speed of up to 37 miles per hour. 

The Drive Pilot system was approved for Level 3 autonomous driving, a level higher than Tesla Inc.’s Level 2 Autopilot system. 

Mercedes Benz’s new system will also allow drivers to drive without using the vehicle steering wheel in slow-moving traffic, according to Bloomberg News. 

“Drive Pilot enables the driver to turn away from the traffic and focus on certain secondary activities,” the automaker said in a statement. “For example, to communicate with colleagues via the in-car office, to write emails, to surf the Internet or to relax and watch a film.”

This approval means Mercedes Benz beat out Tesla and other companies in one of the world’s most competitive car markets. 

Tesla along with Google’s Waymo and others have been starting their own attempts at self-driving technology in the last few years, Bloomberg News reported. 

Mercedes Benz said it is aiming for regulator approval in other jurisdictions as well, saying the Drive Pilot system will be an available option for its S-Class and EQS models in the middle of next year. 

The German automaker follows Honda Motor Co., who in 2020 received approval from Japanese regulators to market its Level 3 system called the Legend model, even though it was only deployed for a limited production run, Bloomberg noted.

Tags automated driving Germany Mercedes-Benz Tesla

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