A small percentage of U.S. Mercedes-Benz EV drivers will soon have access to Travel Pilot, a driver-assistance feature that Mercedes claims will allow drivers to occasionally take their eyes off the road.

Drive Pilot promises to further self-driving technology because it is what Mercedes claims is an SAE Level 3 process that offers “conditionally automated driving.” This means that drivers can take their hands off the wheel while travelling at lower speeds on pre-mapped highways, but they can also take their eyes off the road, which is not permitted by Level 2 systems.

Generate Pilot was first deployed in Germany last year, but Mercedes announced this week that it has received regulatory authority to use the technique in California and Nevada. Once that regulatory barrier has been overcome, what Mercedes refers to as the “production-all set” version of Push Pilot will debut later this year, starting with a “constrained fleet” of EQS cars and trucks before rolling out more widely in early 2024.

Mercedes-Benz Produce a Pilot

According to a press statement from Mercedes, Generate Pilot will be installed on the EQS and gasoline S-Course sedan models for the 2024 model year and will be operated through the Mercedes Me Hook up application store. Push Pilot-equipped vehicles will only be sold by cooperating sellers in California and Nevada as those states are the only ones where the technology has obtained official certification.

Prices for annual memberships start at $2,500. Mercedes claims that a subscription-based offering is better since it offers customers more total freedom. Mercedes claims that EQS or S-Class owners can simply cease paying the subscription if they relocate to a different state where the system is not authorised or to any location without the mapped motorways necessary for the system to function.

However, Push Pilot is more than simply an app. On top of the current sensors included in the Driver Guidance Deal for the EQS sedan and S-Class, it adds more sensors. They include lidar, a rear-window camera, microphones for detecting the sirens from unexpected emergency vehicles, and a road-wetness sensor properly positioned in a wheel. Additionally, redundant steering and braking components as well as large buttons on the steering wheel are included in Push Pilot-equipped automobiles.

Push Pilot for Mercedes

Such a strategy fits the EQS’s character, which has always been a tech flagship. Mercedes has hinted that Push Pilot is coming to other body types as well, including a smaller production EV based on the recently unveiled Principle CLA-Class at the 2023 Munich auto show.

Regulators have paid close attention to Tesla’s driver assistance technology. The NHTSA noted at the beginning of this year that the practise created “an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.”