Mercedes-Benz has become the world’s first automotive company to meet the legal requirements for a Level 3 hands-free driving system. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has granted system approval under United Nation regulation UN-R157, which paves the way for offering the system internationally provided that national legislation allows it.

Mercedes-Benz’s customers will be able to buy an S-Class with DRIVE PILOT in the first half of 2022, enabling them to drive in “conditionally automated mode” at speeds of up to 60 km/h on suitable stretches of motorway in Germany.

When in automated mode, DRIVE PILOT allows the driver to perform tasks on the central display such as online shopping or processing e-mails.

Markus Schäfer, Board member of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, Chief Technology Officer responsible for Development and Purchasing, says, “For many years, we have been working to realise our vision of automated driving. With this LiDAR based system, we have developed an innovative technology for our vehicles that offers customers a unique, luxurious driving experience and gives them what matters most: time. With the approval of the authorities, we have now achieved a breakthrough: We are the first manufacturer to put conditionally automated driving into series production in Germany.”

He adds, “With this milestone, we are initiating a radical paradigm shift. For the first time in 136 years of automotive history, the vehicle takes over the dynamic driving task under certain conditions. At the same time, we are pleased that Germany is continuing its pioneering role in automated driving with this approval.”