Mercedes-Benz has beaten Tesla to the punch in gaining approval from California to deploy its automated driving technology on public roads. The California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) on Thursday granted Mercedes-Benz permission to offer its DRIVE PILOT system on designated highways in the Bay Area, Central Valley, Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Diego. The permit also allows Mercedes-Benz to use DRIVE PILOT on the interstate highway connecting Southern California to Nevada.
DRIVE PILOT is a Level 3 automated driving system, which means that it can drive itself under certain conditions without the active control of a driver. However, drivers are still required to be ready to take over at all times in case of an emergency.
Tesla has been testing its own Level 3 automated driving system, called Full Self-Driving, in California since 2016. However, Tesla has not yet received approval from the DMV to deploy Full Self-Driving on public roads.
The DMV’s approval of Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT system is a significant milestone for the development of automated driving technology. It is also a victory for Mercedes-Benz, which has been investing heavily in automated driving for several years.
Mercedes-Benz is not the only automaker that is working on automated driving technology. Other automakers, such as Waymo, Uber, and General Motors, are also developing Level 3 and Level 4 automated driving systems. However, Mercedes-Benz is the first automaker to receive approval from the DMV to deploy a Level 3 automated driving system on public roads in California.
The DMV’s approval of Mercedes-Benz’s DRIVE PILOT system is a sign that the technology is maturing and that it is becoming safer and more reliable. It is also a sign that the automotive industry is moving closer to a future where self-driving cars are a reality.