Mercedes will take full responsibility in the event of an accident if its autonomous systems are activated. This has been confirmed by Gregor Kugelmann, responsible for the development of the German firm’s Drive Pilot, in an interview with Road&Track. It is a blow on the table, as it will allow drivers to completely ignore the controls.
there is no one like it. At the moment, there are no vehicles used by individuals that have the approval of the brands to completely ignore circulation. Until now, manufacturers use semi-autonomous systems that are level 2 at best but still require human attention to operate. In fact, the vehicle may ask the driver to pay more attention to the road or to put their hands on the wheel.
Level 3. Mercedes has already set itself apart from the competition after achieving a level 3 certificate for its autonomous driving. With this definition, the driver can become a mere passenger in controlled traffic circumstances. The car can take complete control, choosing the most suitable lane for its destination, when to overtake or avoiding unexpected hazards, such as vehicles unexpectedly crossing its path or objects on the road.
Very limited. Although Drive Pilot has a lot of potential, it will only be available in very specific traffic circumstances. It will not be able to be activated above 40 mph (64 km/h), it will require spaces mapped by Mercedes itself and that are places without nearby constructions or traffic lights, as well as optimal weather conditions. Despite everything, it is the first step in full autonomous driving. They are expected to reach their most advanced models, such as the EQS or S-Class.
Look mom, no hands. Where Mercedes really stands out from its competition is in the assumption of responsibilities in the event of an accident, as stated by Road&Track. This is a debate that has been going on for years: who is responsible in an accident with an autonomous car? At the moment, and until more advanced systems than the current ones are approved, of the driver. It is a problem that Tesla has been facing for a long time and that has even been sued by relatives of victims of traffic accidents who had the Autopilot system activated.
Pending your approval. In order to use Drive Pilot with full guarantees in its level 3 version, Mercedes is pending approval in the states of California and Nevada, where it hopes to achieve it by the end of the year. These American states are betting on autonomous driving and there are already transport companies operating on their streets.
However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), in charge of road safety in the United States, raised the alarm at the beginning of the year to remind manufacturers that their systems are not fully self-employed and that their advertising campaigns could be misleading people. In fact, they have confirmed that they will subject future vehicles incorporating this type of technology to tougher tests.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism