Mercedes Beats Tesla To Hands-Free Driving On the Autobahn

Daimler AG's Mercedes-Benz won regulatory approval to deploy a hands-free driving system in Germany ahead of Tesla, gaining an edge in the race to offer higher levels of automation in one of the world's most competitive car markets. Bloomberg: The automaker got the green light to sell its Drive Pilot package for use on stretches of the country's Autobahn network at a speed of up to 60 kilometers (37 miles) per hour, Mercedes said Thursday. The system was approved for Level 3 autonomous driving, a notch higher than Tesla's Level 2 Autopilot system, and will allow a drivers to take their hands off the wheel in slow-moving traffic. "Drive Pilot enables the driver to turn away from the traffic and focus on certain secondary activities," the luxury-car maker said in a statement. "For example, to communicate with colleagues via the in-car office, to write emails, to surf the Internet or to relax and watch a film." Mercedes got permission for the system only in Germany, but said it's aiming for regulatory approval in other jurisdictions as well. Drive Pilot will be an option for the S-Class and EQS models from around the middle of next year. The automaker hasn't decided how much it will charge for the system, which has approval to be used on around 13,000 kilometers of Germany's highway network.

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