Earlier this month, Daimler boss Ola Kallenius hinted that Mercedes’ upcoming all-new S-Class flagship could offer “eyes-off” highly automated driving once it arrives in showrooms later this year.
Back in 2018 at the Paris Auto Show, he stated that Level 3 autonomy was the ultimate goal as far as the next S-Class was concerned, meaning that the car would allow drivers to relinquish control entirely in certain situations.
“The S-Class reaches the next milestone when it comes to automated driving: Stay tuned for the world premiere in early September,” he told shareholders last week at the company’s annual general meeting on July 9th.
The thing is, no company executives have so far revealed whether Mercedes engineers have indeed managed to install Level 3 autonomous features in the next-gen S-Class – as they are surely aware of all these new liability risks that carmakers could face should their eyes-off automated driving systems fail at some point.
A Daimler source said that while providing Level 3 capability for highway driving is still the target for Mercedes, doing so does not depend entirely on the carmaker, reports Autonews Europe. It was only last month that regulators agreed on a set of guidelines for the approval of Level 3 systems in the European Union, Japan and some two dozen other markets.
Even if Mercedes does launch the new S-Class with something like the new EU-approved Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS) feature, it still doesn’t mean that drivers can depend on it from a legal standpoint, seen as how Germany is the only EU country to fully legalize the use of conditional Level 3 autonomous tech.
Also, depending on different global legislation, it’s possible that the new S-Class might even boast Level 4 fully autonomous parking functions, as the German brand has already tested cars that were able to maneuver and park all by themselves in a controlled environment.