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Mercedes-Benz Granted Conditional Automated Driving License for Beijing Highways

Beijing, December 16, 2023 – Mercedes-Benz has achieved a significant milestone in the realm of automated driving by securing a conditional Level 3 highway road test license in Beijing. This development makes Mercedes-Benz one of the pioneering automakers to receive approval for such testing in the Chinese capital.

The renowned automaker will embark on a rigorous testing phase for its conditionally automated driving system on designated highways in Beijing. Throughout this process, the company’s unwavering commitment to safety remains paramount. Mercedes-Benz is collaborating closely with relevant authorities to advance its Level 3 automated driving systems tailored for the Chinese market, with a strong emphasis on providing Chinese customers a safe and reliable automated driving experience.

Mercedes-Benz has a long-standing history as a trailblazer in the field of automated driving. Its journey began in 1986 with adaptive cruise control testing, and today, it stands as the only car manufacturer globally with internationally validated system approval for conditionally automated driving. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz boasts an SAE Level 4 driverless parking system, setting the bar for innovation in the industry.

In China, Mercedes-Benz has been conducting comprehensive proving ground tests for Level 3 systems for several years, further solidifying its leadership in the automated driving arena.

Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG and Chief Technology Officer for Development & Procurement, expressed Mercedes-Benz’s dedication to providing the best customer experience on a global scale. He stated, “After bringing our DRIVE PILOT to Germany and the U.S., the testing license in Beijing is the next important milestone to get conditionally automated driving ready for Chinese roads. We will incorporate all our global expertise to support the local R&D team for a safe and reliable system design.”

Mercedes-Benz’s Level 3 automated driving system, known as DRIVE PILOT, prioritizes redundancy to ensure safety and reliability. It integrates various sensors, including LiDAR, advanced stereo cameras, and microphones for detecting emergency vehicle signals. Furthermore, the system features redundant steering and braking systems, as well as a backup on-board electrical system to ensure continued maneuverability even in case of system failures.

For customers, this technology allows them to engage in secondary activities while the vehicle handles the driving, enhancing the overall driving experience. Mercedes-Benz introduced DRIVE PILOT in Germany in 2022 as an optional feature for the S-Class and the all-electric EQS sedan. In the U.S., the production-ready version of DRIVE PILOT has already been deployed on roads in California and Nevada, with plans for customer deliveries in early 2024.

Mercedes-Benz is adopting a systematic approach to system design, with a focus on safety. By the end of the decade, the company aims to expand the system’s availability on freeways to speeds of up to 130 km/h. In the near term, Mercedes-Benz plans to introduce a system capable of operating at 90 km/h when following another vehicle on German highways.

Mercedes-Benz is dedicated to tailoring its vehicles to the Chinese market through its local R&D capabilities. A dedicated team of engineers, lawyers, compliance managers, data protection experts, and ethics experts collaborates to ensure the Level 3 automated driving system is well-suited for China’s unique infrastructure and traffic conditions. Proving ground testing and validation in China, initiated in 2021, continually enhances the system’s performance and adaptation to local nuances.

Mercedes-Benz’s robust R&D network in China has evolved significantly over the years, becoming one of the most comprehensive R&D networks outside of Germany. The company’s commitment to local talent and partnerships, including collaborations with prestigious institutions like Tsinghua University, has contributed to its growth. By the end of 2023, Mercedes-Benz’s China R&D team is expected to comprise 2,000 professionals, further bolstering the company’s innovation capacity.

In the realm of automated driving, Mercedes-Benz’s collaboration with local authorities underscores its commitment to bringing cutting-edge technologies to Chinese customers and contributing to the development of intelligent connected vehicles in China. As the automotive industry continues to advance, Mercedes-Benz remains at the forefront, ushering in a new era of safe and innovative automated driving experiences.

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