Mercedes is pioneering a shift in marker light aesthetics, securing the distinction of being the first automotive manufacturer to gain approval for utilizing turquoise-colored exterior lights in the United States. These distinctive indicators serve a specific purpose—signifying the operational status of Mercedes’ SAE Level 3 autonomous-driving system known as Drive Pilot.
The Drive Pilot system empowers drivers to delegate primary control to the vehicle, allowing automated driving at speeds up to 40 mph. However, it necessitates the driver to be vigilant and prepared to reassume control whenever the car encounters a situation beyond its autonomous capabilities. Mercedes emphasizes that in the event of system failure, fail-safes for braking and steering are in place to manage the car safely until the driver regains control. This innovative system received certification for use in California and Nevada earlier this year.
California is the initial testing ground for Mercedes’ turquoise marker lights, where the company has been granted a two-year approval period to evaluate their effectiveness. In Nevada, approval extends to production models, debuting with the 2026 EQS sedan and S-class. These unique turquoise markers will be integrated into the headlights, taillights, and side mirrors of the test vehicles in California.
Mercedes posits that the unconventional color choice for marker lights has the potential to enhance public acceptance of self-driving cars, contributing to improved traffic safety. Additionally, the distinct color aids law enforcement officers in identifying situations where drivers are not actively controlling the vehicle, enhancing overall road safety.
The selection of turquoise as the marker light color aligns with the recommendations of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) for identifying active automated driving systems. Mercedes asserts that this shade ensures reliable visibility and easy differentiation from other conventional vehicles and traffic lights. The company aspires to promote the global adoption of turquoise marker lights as a standard feature on production cars worldwide.