Mercedes-Benz: It’s uncommon to want more traffic, but to maintain our current speed and continue viewing Beyoncé concert videos, we needed a slowdown.
The Mercedes EQS580 we were driving would softly beep at us to take the wheel again whenever the other vehicles on the freeway accelerated as we traveled east on I-10 from Santa Monica into downtown Los Angeles. It required us to shift our attention from Bey to the Honda CR-V in front of us.
Are you scowling at another negligent motorist who endangers everyone by misusing a subpar “self-driving” system? It is a reasonable inference.
So even when we sipped our coffee and turned to talk to a passenger in the back seat, we were in compliance with the law in this instance. In the event of a collision at that period, Mercedes, not us, would have been at fault.
The most flagrantly mislabeled technology in the automobile industry is, arguably self-driving cars. Unambiguously, they don’t exist. A Level 2 system is available in every automobile with any significant driver-assist features currently on the market.
And yes, it includes G.M.’s Super Cruise and Tesla’s Complete Self-Driving. Contrary to what you may have seen on YouTube, Level 2 technology does not allow drivers to lawfully put their hands or eyes away from the road while driving.
Mercedes Drive Pilot is the first Level 3 drive system to receive approval; thus, when it is activated, and all driving requirements are satisfied, the driver is legally permitted to drift off until the CR-V picks up speed, at least.
While we conducted a ride-along in March 2022, this was our first opportunity to drive. It’s odd to navigate one of L.A.’s most tedious sections of road with the option of simply drifting off to sleep. There are tight guidelines for using Drive Pilot.
Only roadways plotted out, daylight hours, no precipitation or snow, and traffic moving at less than 40 mph are eligible. It will hand over control to the driver if it detects anything out of the norm, such as a pedestrian crossing the road or an approaching emergency vehicle.
The majority of Los Angeles commutes are sunny and leisurely, so during our test, we were able to activate the system with a simple button click and just… stop driving.
Theoretically, that is. We found it tough to stop paying attention, and there wasn’t anything we wanted to do instead. It’s not simple to break years of well-entrenched habits.
Using a hand-held device while driving is permitted in Germany, so we could have perused Instagram on the infotainment screen while watching movies or playing games. Yet, taking a vacation from those things is pleasant about driving a car. We may feel differently if we often travel along I-10.
On a practical level, Drive Pilot functions effectively when all of its requirements are satisfied; however, switching back to Level 2 adaptive cruise from Drive Pilot is still awkward. Drive Pilot won’t operate at speeds over 40 mph, but it took some time to detect faster-moving traffic and alert us to take over.
The car in front of us could draw several lengths ahead at that period; it wasn’t a big concern, but it was enough to annoy city drivers accustomed to nose-to-tail distance.
We could use Mercedes’ Level 2 capabilities, such as adaptive cruise and automatic lane shifting, undisturbed for a greater portion of our journey because they can work at considerably higher speeds.
But, it is illegal to get distracted during that period, so we would be held responsible if we had an accident or lane-change mishap.
Mercedes desires a secure technology. In California alone, the business has driven more than 100,000 test miles. Drive Pilot incorporates data from radar, cameras, and lidar and uses sensors to identify wet pavement and microphones to hear for sirens.
Backups for the steering, brakes, and most electrical systems are all included in the redundancy of the systems. Only California and Nevada are now permitted to deploy the technology in the United States, and Mercedes anticipates that other states will follow suit.
On S-class and EQS versions, Drive Pilot will be available as a subscription service with annual prices beginning at $2500.
Although it’s an expensive addition, taking a helicopter to work would be more expensive, and there are no other ways to lessen the impact.