The Next-Gen 2021 Mercedes-Benz S-Class Will Feature Level 3 Autonomy
Be ready to get chauffeured around without a chauffeur; well almostby Sidd Dhimaan, on
Mercedes-Benz is upping the ante by introducing Level 3 autonomy in its next-gen S-Class that will launch in 2020, improving on technology found in the current-generation model that has level 2 autonomy. After featuring in the S-Class, the German automaker will use the autonomous system in other cars as well.
It’s A Little Late, But It’s Here
Audi was the first automaker to introduce Level 3 autonomy. So, in that sense, Mercedes took its own sweet time to come up with it; which doesn’t really matter because according to U.S. rules and regulation, an automaker cannot launch full-fledged level 3 autonomy in its cars yet.
The Mercedes S-Class has been spotted with an updated exterior and interiors recently, and it is rumored that it will receive the German manufacturer’s newest 4.0-liter, twin-turbo, V-8 engine as opposed to the current V-12.
It will be paired with a nine-speed automatic transmission and might feature mild hybridization like the new CLS.
Starting with its flagship sedans, Daimler’s head of research, Ola Kallenius, said that the autonomous systems would be introduced in other Mercedes products as well. Kallenius is also set to become the CEO of Mercedes and Daimler next year.
In-depth About Autonomy
Mercedes’ current level 2 autonomy assists in steering, acceleration, and deceleration, but the driver remains in charge of monitoring the driving environment at all times. Level 3 systems are considered "eyes off," but they still require humans to respond to a vehicle’s request to intervene when necessary. This is not approved in the U.S., but in some countries, it is already in use. Germany, for instance, recently approved systems like Audi’s Traffic Jam Pilot for use on its roads.
Tesla’s Autopilot system is capable of Level 5 autonomy when equipped with Hardware 2, but the system is currently restricted to Level 2 operation.
Chevrolet’s Super Cruise feature, which is almost Level 3 autonomy, is available in the Cadillac CT6, but cannot be used until regulations allow for more automation.
Of the German trio, BMW will be the last one to join the party. Its Level 3 autonomy system is expected to be introduced in the iNext EV that will be launched in 2021. However, BMW will upgrade it to Level 4 automation within a year. With level 4 autonomy, the vehicle can operate itself almost all of the time.
Now that automakers are capable of introducing even Level 5 autonomy, do you think the U.S. government should let them install it in cars, or should they wait until the systems become fool-proof and safe to use? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Read our full review on the 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.
Read our full speculative review on the 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class.