Mercedes-Benz has received a new level of driving automation for its Drive Pilot system, which is a direct competitor to Tesla's Autopilot system.
Mercedes took to its website with a press release that states its Drive Pilot system is approved for use in Nevada, receiving the first Level 3 "conditionally automated" driving certification, making it the very first car company to reach Level 3.
According to the announcement, Mercedes' Drive Pilot system at Level 3 capabilities will be able to keep the car in a lane, change lanes, and maintain the car at a safe distance behind the one that it's in front of by adjusting speed and more. However, all of this new technology is only permitted at speeds up to 40 mph. Notably, Tesla currently sits at Level 2 autonomy with its Autopilot system, but many of the features that make up Level 3 autonomy are already present in Level 2, which are already present on the road.
One feature that differentiates Level 3 from Level 2 is the ability to play Tetris or read an article while the car is in Drive Pilot mode. However, the driver will need to keep their face in the camera's view to keep the system engaged.
"Nevada law allows all automation levels to operate on public streets. Nevada does not issue any permit or license based on an autonomous vehicle's level of automation," a spokesperson for the state's DMV said in an email.
"It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the US market," said Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Dimitris Psillakis in a statement.
"An unwavering commitment to innovation has consistently guided Mercedes-Benz from the very beginning. It is a very proud moment for everyone to continue this leadership and celebrate this monumental achievement as the first automotive company to be certified for Level 3 conditionally automated driving in the U.S. market," said Dimitris Psillakis, President and CEO of MBUSA.