Mercedes-Benz Gets Hands-Free Approval in Europe
Mercedes-Benz recently took a big step forward in the push to take the human element out of driving.
The company won approval for hands-free driving on highways in Germany, Automotive News reports. That puts it ahead of competitors like Tesla in what the news outlet called “one of the world’s most competitive car markets.”
Mercedes-Benz drivers can now use the Drive Pilot package Germany’s Autobahn at a speed of up to 37 miles per hour. The Level 3 system allows drivers to take their hands off the wheels of their cars in slow-moving traffic.
“The controls for Drive Pilot are located in the steering wheel rim above the thumb recesses on the right and left,” Mercedes said in a description of the technology on its website. “If the driver activates Drive Pilot, the system regulates speed and distance and guides the vehicle confidently within the lane.”
The company is eyeing similar approval in places like the U.S. and China, where regulators have yet to develop a system for approving hand-free driving technology.
Tesla, meanwhile, is still facing skepticism over its autopilot-assisted driving system.
A German court last year found that the company misled buyers about what the system can actually do. Federal regulators in the U.S. are investigating 12 accidents in which Teslas crashed into parked emergency vehicles, looking at how much the Autopilot driver-assist system was involved.
Stuck with a Defective Car? Know Your Rights Under California's Lemon Law
While hands-free systems like Drive Pilot promise to change the way that people get from Point A to Point B, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and other major auto manufacturers continue to struggle to ensure that the cars they put on the road today are safe to drive.
Millions of vehicles are recalled around the globe each year, with manufacturers citing a wide variety of defects that increase the risk of an accident. These recalls are often announced long after covered cars have left factory floors and been sold to unsuspecting buyers.
In January, for example, Mercedes-Benz alerted some 800,000 car owners that a coolant pump defect could cause engine fires in their vehicles. Only the company also said that it was not issuing a recall because it does not have the necessary parts to fix the problem, according to a Reuters report.
The good news for car owners in California is that you do not need to wait for a recall to get defective vehicles fixed.
The state’s lemon law requires car manufacturers to perform a full range of repairs on cars while they are under warranty. It also forces manufacturers to buy back (or replace, in some cases) vehicles that they cannot or refuse to fix.
How an Orange County Lemon Law Attorney Can Help
If you are a California car owner driving a defective or malfunctioning vehicle, an Orange County lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help you understand your rights and explore your options.