Mercedes S-Class To Get Level 3 Autonomous Driving Technology In 2020

Autonomous driving technology is becoming a key differentiator in the premium luxury market and Audi took an early lead when it introduced the all-new A8 with a Level 3 semi-autonomous driving system.

Mercedes was one of the first automakers to introduce semi-autonomous driving technology as the company’s adaptive cruise control system has been around for over a decade. As a result, the company isn’t going to sit idly by while Audi enjoys the spotlight.

As Mercedes research and development boss, Ola Källenius, told Autoguide “It is our goal in the next three years or so, to have the first application in the market for that Level 4 / Level 5 technology. Prior to that, in 2020, we’re pursuing our first Level 3 car where you can obviously have some parts of the driving experience autonomous.”

The Level 3 system will debut on the S-Class and Källenius noted it will be a “sensible option” for buyers of the flagship sedan. There’s no word on how much the system will cost but Källenius hinted the technology will be priced similarly to other options on the S-Class. That’s a little vague but the Driver Assistance Package on the S560 sedan costs $2,250 and includes features such as Active Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist, and Active Brake Assist with a cross-traffic function.

SAE International defines a Level 3 system as conditional automation and says the vehicle should be able to handle “all aspects of the dynamic driving task with the expectation that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene.”

Mercedes is also working on Level 4 and Level 5 systems but Källenius has previously said they are primarily being developed for the taxi market as they are “phenomenally expensive” and will likely cost “tens of thousands of dollars once you get it into production.”

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  • TrevP

    How many levels until its considered fully autonomous? 5? 10?

  • Merc1

    Of course it will and the competition will be crushed again like 2013 when the current one debuted.


    • MarketAndChurch

      How will it crush the competition when Audi already has level 3 available today, not 3 years from now. Audi’s level 3 remains to be seen whether it is a truly level 3 spec product, and not just a super advanced level 2, but by 2020, Audi will have 3 years of a leg up on Mercedes, and probably debut a brand new and even better system by then.

      • Merc1

        The same way the S-Class does every time a new one debuts. You must not know how this segment works. Audi won’t have a leg up on a new car that has yet to debut, that’s bass ackwards. Whatever Audi debuts between now and 2020 (which won’t be much) the S will surpass it upon arrival like always.


      • Carenthusiast

        Expect facelift E Class to offer similar or even better autonomous features as offered by Audi’s currently. Remember A8’s much boasted level 3 doesn’t work yet in most countries

  • PK

    isn’t tesla level 5 autonomous right now?

    • brn

      Nope. Level 3 at best, because it suggests that you can take your attention off the road, but can be required to retake control. That’s a little questionable with Tesla (time required to retake control is really brief), so giving it a level 3 is being generous.

      With level 5, you can remove the steering wheel and pedals, like GM claims they’re going to do next year. However, since the GM vehicle is geofenced, even it doesn’t qualify as level 5. It’s level 4.

      • MarketAndChurch

        I agree. I would give Tesla an advanced level 2 at best, probably same with Audi’s too.

  • MarketAndChurch

    Level 3 is not only more realistic, but really the furthest extant most of these car companies will go until the technology is fully perfected. Even than, with level 3, it will be a challenge to keep driver focus when most of the driving will be handled by the car. I think what that means is that level 2 driving features, will probably be mainstream by 2020 for the masses.

  • Kagan

    Bla bla, who cares. There is level 5 for the past 200 years, it is called train!