Mercedes Beats Tesla to Earn Level 3 AV Sales Approval in California

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

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. 

[Image: Mercedes-Benz]

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11 of 17 comments
  • VoGhost VoGhost on Jun 09, 2023

    Mercedes wins!!!!

    Now lets compare sales.

    • See 3 previous
    • VoGhost VoGhost on Jun 10, 2023

      SCE, I don't call Tesla a luxury manufacturer. In fact, I don't categorize automakers at all, since industry analysts already do so. And they unanimously characterize Tesla as a luxury or premium manufacturer that competes with BMW and MB.

      Which brings up another issue. For years the TTAC commenters attacked Tesla for being too expensive. Now they're angry Tesla doesn't charge enough? Maybe it's not about price - maybe they just hate American entrepreneurialism.

  • MaintenanceCosts MaintenanceCosts on Jun 09, 2023

    Imagine that... the OEM that doesn't make absurd false claims about "Full Self-Driving" and that doesn't release beta software onto public streets gets better treatment from the regulator.

  • CaddyDaddy CaddyDaddy on Jun 09, 2023

    Coney Island in Bailey, Colorado off of US 285. Man oh man, Caddy Daddy could use a Chicago Dog, side of fries and a root beer. Good Times!

  • Master Baiter Master Baiter on Jun 10, 2023

    "...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..."

    Translation: It's basically useless, and likely more stressful than piloting the car ones's self.