2024 Mercedes EQS Sedan, S-Class First to Get Level 3

  • For 2024, the Mercedes-Benz EQS sedan and S-Class will be the first American models to have level 3 autonomous driving.
  • The Level 3 system (called Drive Pilot) lets the car handle most driving duties, but requires the driver to take over at any time.
  • Mercedes already introduced Drive Pilot in Germany, and now it has been approved for use in America, starting with Nevada.

With Mercedes-Benz announcing today that it is the first automaker approved to use its Level 3 autonomous system in America, some of us will finally have access to hands-free driving, in certain circumstances, of course.

Drive Pilot is what Mercedes calls its Level 3 system, and the technology will make its U.S. debut as an option on the 2024 EQS and S-Class sedans. Drive Pilot allows the driver to hand over primary duties to the car, meaning they don’t have to touch the steering wheel or constantly watch the road on compatible through roads. This is different from Level 2 systems like GM’s Super Cruise, which have monitoring systems to make sure the driver is looking at the road. However, even in the Mercedes system, the driver must be ready to take control of the car again at any time if it cannot drive itself.

mercedes benz eqs sedan with drift pilot level 3 autonomous system

Guiding Drive Pilot is a mix of GPS, lidar, numerous sensors, and more. It only works at speeds up to 40 mph. If either system fails, Mercedes says there are brake and steering failsafes to safely maintain control of the car until the driver regains control. If the driver is unable to do so in the time allowed, the system is said to bring the car to a complete stop, activate the hazard lights and contact emergency services.

Mercedes launched Drive Pilot in May 2022 in Germany. For now, Nevada is the only US state where Drive Pilot has received regulatory approval. However, Mercedes says it is currently working on getting approval in California with the hope that it will be certified sometime later in 2023.

The 2024 EQS sedan and S-Class models are expected to be delivered to customers in the second half of this year.