The new S-Class has been a long time coming and is still in the midst of a grueling development cycle, but Daimler AG board member for Mercedes’ group research and development, Markus Schäfer, revealed to Car Advice the car’s Level 3 system will allow for ‘eyes-off’ driving.
“Details will take us a couple more months. Still we are targeting [it], but we have to go through homologation,” he said. “Some others tried it and found issues. But that’s the development target for the new S-Class, Level 3, so let’s see next year. On our ambition for an S-Class, the bar is extremely high, it’s the top end of our portfolio in terms of everything, so the target is extremely high in every aspect. In a few months, we can detail just how high we can put the bar, we’re working day and night.”
Mercedes-Benz would not be the first company to develop a Level 3 system. Tesla’s current Autopilot system is classified as a Level 2 system, but the company boldly claims it has the hardware necessary for Level 5 autonomy. Similarly, the latest Audi A8 launched a couple of years ago with Level 3 tech, but the systems haven’t been activated in the U.S. due to regulatory hurdles.
It’s not just new self-driving technology that will differentiate the new S-Class from the outgoing model. Mercedes has worked extensively on the executive saloon’s exterior looks and will fit new bumpers as well as distinctive headlights and taillights similar to those from the CLS. Inside, there will be a huge, portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system and a secondary display in front of the driver.