The next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class just made its debut, and it comes peppered with plenty of technological updates and innovations. One of its amazing features is its self-driving mode.
According to Mercedes, the 2021 S-Class is packing Level 3 and Level 4 self-driving capabilities. The clip above contributed by one of our readers, Moritz Rossmanith, shows a driver going hands-off while operating the car, which suggests that some of its Level 3 features are being tested on a public road.
The autonomous driving program of the new S-Class lets it steer, brake, and accelerate automatically. Meanwhile, the auto parking of the vehicle is on Level 4, which lets it find its own parking slot and return back to its owner when needed.
Based on the classification system of autonomous driving made by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International, a Level 3 offers “conditional automation”, which means that the vehicle can drive itself under ideal road conditions while the driver can focus on other activities like using a mobile phone, for example. The driver is still required to intervene in some cases though, especially when the car is going more than 60 km/h or during critical moments.
On the other hand, Level 4 offers an enhanced autopilot system that better responds to obstacles and more complicated road conditions. It can also determine when to turn and change lanes.
Despite the S-Class already capable of driving itself, the full benefit of its autonomous driving tech is currently being held back by legal restrictions and lack of infrastructure to support it.