for once the law overtakes the technology

It is already possible to move at a speed of 130 km/h with a level 3 autonomous car without holding the steering wheel or looking at the road. The problem is that no manufacturer currently offers this technology. Only the Mercedes EQS and S-Class are compatible, but currently only accelerate to 60 km/h.

Mercedes driver pilot

Although almost all manufacturers are working on it, we have been hearing about autonomous driving for a long time. We are of course thinking of the Tesla with autopilot and FSD (fully self-driving) in the US, or Volvo, which equips the new EX90 with a LiDAR sensor. Many equipment manufacturers are also interested in it, including Plastic Omninum, which introduced innovative radar technology integrated into the bumper. If things are going in the right direction, things are not quite ready yet.

Changing the rules…

Until then, Only level 2 autonomous driving was allowed in Europe. Concretely speaking, this means that it is possible to drive a car alone as long as you keep your hands on the wheel, or more precisely, pay attention to what is happening on the road. In other words, the driver is always responsible for driving.

However, as of July 14, 2022, level 3 is already permitted in Europe: the car responsible for driving. However, this technology was not approved in France on September 1, but only under certain conditions. Indeed, the road should be prohibited for pedestrians and cyclists, and there should also be a central separator.

The driver must also always be able to take control if the car asks him to, so sleeping or watching a movie is out of the question. Finally, speed was limited to 60 km/h, thus reducing the use of traffic jams on motorways.

But now some changes have been made, but the rules have been relaxed a bit. We recall that last July, the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations announced that it would allow autonomous driving up to 130 km/h. As the site announced, a measure finally came into force in Germany on January 1, 2023 Nothing has been confirmed in France yet, but we should know a little more soon.

… but brands don’t follow

On paper, this is great news for motorists who can take long journeys without touching the steering wheel. In addition, this new regulation should help improve traffic, while a recent study proved that self-driving cars help reduce imaginary traffic jams on highways. But there is still a small catch.

Indeed, only Mercedes currently offers level 3 in Europe on its cars, the EQS and S-Class. Through the Drive Pilot system. However, according to the regulations in force until now, it has only been approved to reach a maximum speed of 60 km/h. If the German firm Tesla has a head start, on the other hand it lags behind the legislation.

Mercedes driver pilot
Mercedes Drive Pilot: Level 3 autonomous driving

It may seem comical, but it’s a rather embarrassing situation for the German brand, which risks being left behind by its rivals, including BMW. The manufacturer is also working on the release of models equipped with autonomous driving technology, like many Chinese firms such as Nio or Zeekr.

This is all the more worrisome as Mercedes is yet to announce a timetable for the update. Car magazine. Could this be done remotely, like with Tesla, for example, which offers a switch from classic Autopilot to fully autonomous driving after purchase via an OTA update (over the air)? We will still have to wait for the answer to this question.

In any case, Mercedes remains for the moment the only manufacturer in Europe that drives cars in level 3 autonomous driving. More precisely, in Germany.

Autonomous cars: what are the differences between levels of autonomy?

We explain to you what the different levels of autonomous driving correspond to. Between fully autonomous driving, semi-autonomous driving and driving assistants, we help you see things more clearly.
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