Tesla is no longer the top dog in vehicle autonomy.

Mercedes-Benz has recently announced the details regarding its Drive Pilot system, which is set to make its debut later this year. The German automaker claims to be the first in the world to introduce a Level 3 autonomous driving system in a production vehicle in the United States.

Tesla’s Full-Self Driving (FSD) feature is categorized as a Level 2 autonomous driving system. As such, it requires the driver to be ready to take control at any given moment. In contrast, with Mercedes Drive Pilot, the driver is not in control and is only expected to intervene if prompted by the system.

The Mercedes Drive Pilot system will be deployed in a limited fleet of EQS sedans on the freeways of California and Nevada. Mercedes Drive Pilot will begin in California and Nevada because they are the only two states that have approved the system for use on major roadways.

One of the distinctive features of Drive Pilot is that it allows driving at speeds of up to 40 mph on compatible sections of the freeway, even in congested traffic conditions. While this speed may seem restricted, it allows drivers to take their attention off the road.

Mercedes-Benz’s Drive Pilot system incorporates various sensors and cameras. These include LiDAR, a road wetness sensor, a rear window camera, and microphones to detect emergency vehicles.

These sensors are complemented by a highly precise positioning system. According to Mercedes-Benz, the Drive Pilot positioning system is superior to GPS, as it provides a car’s precise location down to inches.

Drive Pilot also includes built-in redundancies for steering, braking, and the car’s electrical system. This ensures that the driver can take over if the system malfunctions.

According to Inverse, Mercedes-Benz plans to charge $2,500 to activate the Drive Pilot system for the first year. Pricing details for subsequent years have not yet been disclosed.

Mercedes’s Drive Pilot is quite pricey given that it’s a recurring subscription service. But the company is betting that customers won’t mind.

While the initial deployment of the Drive Pilot system will be limited, Mercedes-Benz intends to expand its availability in the future, with plans to incorporate it in upcoming models such as the EQS sedan and S-Class. Additionally, the company aims to expand the system’s reach to more markets across the United States.

Image Source: Mercedes-Benz Press, https://shorturl.at/bEV19