Faster than Tesla
Hands away from the wheel! Mercedes receives first approval for autonomous driving system
Daimler AG Hands away from the wheel: at "Mercedes Drive Pilot" Is that legal now
Site author Wolfgang Gomoll
Mercedes received the approval of the automated driving of level three from the Federal Motor Transport Authority. The Swabians not only show BMW and Audi, but also Tesla the taillights. But that is only the beginning.
Markus Schafer is not one who tends to exit from emotions. But when the Mercedes technology board "we have succeeded", the pride is clearly noticeable to him. The joy is understandable, because Schafer announces in the same breath that Mercedes use the “Drive Pilot” on the German motorways and that automated driving level 3 is possible up to 60 km/h.
Mercedes creates the third level
This makes Mercedes the first automobile manufacturer to incorporate this function into its vehicles. Audi had already presented a similar system in the A8 a few years ago, but failed due to the release. Even at BMW, the door to the self -operating car originally wanted to breakfast this year. The implementation of the ambitious plans is still a long time coming.
Daimler AG Mercedes Drive Pilot
The five levels of autonomous driving
The terms autonomous and automated driving are often synonymous, there are important differences. These are the five levels of autonomous driving:
- Level 0: The driver controls the car completely.
- Level 1: There are assistance systems such as distance control or lane change warning, which only support the driver. This technology is widespread today down to the small car area.
- Level 2: This is the level at which modern vehicles of the upper middle class and upper class are already located. Sub -automated systems can take over certain functions, such as track guidance or partial automatic parking. Models such as the current Mercedes E-Class, Teslas Model S and Model X or the BMW 5 Series are already dominating the level 2. At Tesla, even more functions were temporarily unlocked, but they were put back after a few incidents.
- Level 3: This is the (high) automated driving, in which the driver must be able to intervene at any time, but may also turn to other things if the system is activated. With a warning time, the driver can be asked to take the lead again. Level 3 is developed as standard, for example in the Audi A8 .
- Level 4: At the fully automated driving the driver can even intervene if the system fails, but as a rule the car should take over everything. This level is currently being tested in practice by various car manufacturers and suppliers as well as tech groups.
- Level 5: At the actual autonomous driving is no longer required. You no longer need a steering wheel or other controls. The occupants become pure passengers.
Unlike Mercedes. “The Federal Motor Transport Authority has on 2. December 2021 The worldwide first type approval in the area of automated driving for an automatic tracking system (Automated Lane Keeping System-Alks) for a model from the manufacturer Mercedes-Benz. The basis is the UN regulation No. 157 that defines internationally harmonized safety requirements for automated track systems, ”says a press release from the KBA bulky.
Essential step towards driving autonomous
This makes an essential step towards autonomous driving, because the transition from Level 2 Plus, which is currently mastering many cars, is gigantic. Finally, the driver of technology hands over the responsibility, which entails an entire rat tail of consequences. Especially liability. When the vehicle is autonomous and builds an accident, the manufacturer is not liable to the driver.
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It starts with the S-Class, which will be available with the robo chauffeur from the middle of next year. Two or three months later the electric flagship EQS is on it. Markus Schafer cannot yet say how high the surcharge will be. However, the board of directors for technical development expects the demand that the demand will be high. "This showed the interest in the hyperscreen that exceeded our expectations," explains the manager. However, the owners of the current S-Class look into the tube. Due to the high technical effort, the system cannot be retrofitted. "We are always open to a second S-Class in the fleet," smiles Markus Schafer with a wink. The surcharge for the system should not be astronomically high. Rolling on other segments is still in the stars, but is technically possible.
Daimler AG Automated driving is about the breakthrough – at least on the highway
The way to this car pilot was rocky. In order for the system to work, a new lidar unit and new powerful cameras had to be developed together with the suppliers. The Mercedes engineers wrote the software themselves. Security is at the top of Mercedes. Submissive-ranging S-classes independently would be anything but beneficial for the image of the German premium car manufacturer. "That’s why some things take a little longer," says Markus Schafer. In addition there are the several trial kilometers to get the system stable.
Tesla is really still leading?
Unlike Tesla boss Elon Musk, who, according to the "New York Times", is firmly believed that camera-based systems are enough to make the autopilot suitable for everyday use, the Mercedes engineers rely on a whole bundle of sensors, cameras and radar units. "Redundance is important," explains Markus Schafer. At least two systems must always be functional and monitor traffic. If this is not the case, the driver must take command again. By the way, even when he falls asleep or reads a newspaper because his eyes are not visible there.
Daimler AG Of the "Drive pilot" In addition to cameras, Mercedes also needs lidar sensors
In order to ensure liability, every driving maneuver is recorded and the system must be up to date constantly. Therefore, in addition to the UN regulation. 157 also the UN-R 155 (cybersecurity) and the UN-R 156 (software updates) in the development. This is to ensure that the vehicle is always up to date and the data is safe. The latter is important. According to the German market, the system in the USA and China should come onto the market. But in the Middle Kingdom, the regulations can vary from province to province or in the big cities, which delays approval. Shenzen has now started and the parameters for autonomous driving stabilized.
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The system works up to 130 km/h
Technically, it is not a problem to bring the robo chauffeur to other markets. It is only important that the legal framework is correct. "The question is also how big the markets are," says Markus Schafer. Meanwhile, at Mercedes you are already working on the next expansion stages of the Drive Pilot. On the plan there are speeds of up to 130 km/h and automated lane change. "Luxury is also the time the driver has"; illustrates Markus Schafer. The variety of functions also has other effects. In the S-Class, the system now has access to around 50 control units and so subscription shops can also be implemented in order to unlock new elements.Meanwhile, at Mercedes, you look ahead. The engineers are currently working on the next generation of the infotainment system. The Swabian car manufacturer wants to keep the fortunes in his own hands. That is why Mercedes defines the hardware including the computer chips. It is clear anyway that the software will also come from Sindelfingen and the surrounding area. With the new command center, the next steps should also go hand in hand with autonomous driving.
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