This is the brave new future we’ve been promised for so long: a self-driving car legally operating on real roads.
Mercedes in Germany is offering both the EQS and the S-Class with optional Level 3 Drive Pilot support for 7430 euro ($7726) and 5000 euro ($5199), respectively. But finding a road that will allow me to deploy the new Drive Pilot is a challenge, owing to the long list of restrictions around its operation.
Although Germany is allowing Level 3 driving automation—on the 1-5 SAE scale that goes from adaptive cruise control to full-Johnnycab robo-chauffeur, this is an “eyes-off-the-road” level of conditional driving automation—vehicles can only do so in very limited circumstances. They must be on one of the nation’s 8200 miles of autobahn highway in traffic traveling at no more than 60 km/h (37 mph) in dry conditions and away from tunnels or construction zones.