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Mercedes Is Selling Level 3 Autonomous Cars To US Consumers

Thanks to a new report, everyone has learned that Mercedes-Benz has started selling SAE Level 3 autonomous cars to consumers in the United States. While the numbers of those vehicles are apparently few, they could easily grow at a time when autonomous driving technologies have been under intense scrutiny for failing to prevent serious accidents.

Two robotaxis crashed into the same truck on the same day.

According to Fortune, which learned through public records requests that 65 of these Level 3 Avs (autonomous vehicles) have been sold to consumers in California and possibly a few more in Nevada, the automaker doesn’t really want to talk too much about this bold new move, other than saying the new vehicles went on sale starting in December 2023.

Image via Mercedes-Benz
Image via Mercedes-Benz

That seems rather odd since in the past Mercedes and other car companies have openly bragged about deploying advanced technologies. But with Level 2 systems like Tesla’s Autopilot and Ford’s Blue Cruise either on trial, literally, or being investigated by the feds, perhaps that’s why the Germans want to avoid too much fanfare.

With Level 3 autonomous driving tech, called Drive Pilot by Mercedes, drivers can remove their hands entirely from the steering wheel and watch a movie, scroll through their phone, curl their hair, or whatever else they want so long as they’re still ready to take control of the vehicle when necessary.

Whenever the vehicle is driving itself, turquoise lights illuminate, letting other drivers and law enforcement know. As you can see from the photos, they’re easy to spot.

Image via Mercedes-Benz
Image via Mercedes-Benz

For now, Drive Pilot is only available on certain S-Class and EQS Sedan vehicles. Just the sheer cost of the vehicles alone will keep these out of reach for most consumers, so only well-heeled shoppers will even seriously consider one.

So far, Mercedes is the only automaker to have achieved government approval for the use of SAE Level 3 autonomous driving vehicles for consumers in the US. But we expect more will follow.

Images via Mercedes-Benz

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