I play Tetris, then I write an email on my phone, and then I watch a movie YouTube. All while driving. do i have a bike? No, I have Drive Pilot. What I’m doing may sound completely insane. But it is legal. Welcome to the next level of self-driving cars called: Level 3.
Drive Pilot constantly scans the environment
When the car says I should take over again, I have ten seconds. Otherwise the Mercedes initiates an emergency stop. Roll out, turn on the hazard lights, make an emergency call. I could be unconscious. The car becomes super smart with Drive Pilot: It constantly checks more than 400 driving options. But all this only works under certain conditions: Freeway, no lane changes, no rain, not at night, not below four degrees outside temperature. And no construction sitesno tunnels or underpasses longer than 50 meters.
Germany is a pioneer in Europe
No wonder that the Mercedes lawyers carefully examine the legal requirements and consequences. It’s about exact formulations. The driver must always be “ready to take over” and “ready to perceive”. So he is not allowed to sleep or climb on the back seat. He must not even move the seat back too far. And Mercedes is very careful: the use of mobile phones in Drive Pilot operations is “not prohibited” in Germany. The carmaker encourages but not offensively.
The manufacturer is liable for system failures
Nothing changes in terms of liability, the manufacturer is liable in the event of a system failure. The driver or owner is liable if he was not willing to take over and it accident comes. The vehicle therefore saves every moment when the Drive Pilot is switched on and off again. And how does it continue? The technology will certainly become cheaper, so that at some point it should also be possible to order it in smaller classes. But it will still be many years before Level 5, which means that cars are completely driverless and fully autonomous on all roads. Some say decades.