Mercedes Beats Tesla to Earn Level 3 AV Sales Approval in California
Self-driving cars aren’t yet a thing, no matter what you hear on the news or read online. That said, a few companies have begun testing autonomous vehicles in cities nationwide, especially in tech-forward California. Mercedes-Benz recently got approval from the state’s DMV to sell or lease vehicles with Level 3 autonomous features.
Mercedes’ Drive Pilot system offers hands- and eyes-free driving in limited circumstances, but the driver must be ready to step in and take control. The system is authorized for use during the day but at speeds lower than 40 mph, so highway driving is not yet available with the feature.
Though Tesla has long touted its “full self-driving” tech and other features, Mercedes beat the electric automaker to the punch in California. Tesla’s system is currently in beta testing, but the company has drawn criticism for letting random owners test the feature in public rather than in controlled tests with safety precautions in place.
Mercedes’ success in California opens the door to sales, which are expected to begin later this year. The automaker has confirmed that the S-Class and EQS SUV will be the first two models available with the tech, but we don’t know of future plans. Other models, including the EQS sedan and EQE, likely have the right hardware to offer the feature, so it’s probably only a matter of time before we see other models offered with the tech.
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