Mercedes-Benz Is Testing The Drive Pilot In China

Giancarlo Perlas December 29, 2023

Mercedes-Benz is doubling down on its autonomous driving technology in key markets. After getting approval for the Drive Pilot’s deployment in Germany and the USA, the three-pointed star marque is also setting its sights on bringing the tech to the Chinese market.

Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot in China

Drive Pilot Goes to China

Recently, Mercedes-Benz announced that it is aiming for the potential rollout of its luxury cars equipped with the Drive Pilot tech in Beijing to further appease Chinese buyers. This comes hot on the heels of its successful applications for Level 3 self-driving technology on German and American roads.

The approval for the testing of conditionally automated driving in some designated highways of the Chinese capital marks another pivotal milestone for the brand. It’s also the first time that China has permitted a Level 3 autonomous driving system to be used on its roads.

According to the company, Drive Pilot “builds on the sensor technology of Mercedes’ Driving Assistance Package.” It additionally integrates the LiDAR sensor, stereo camera in the front window, multi-purpose camera in the rear window, and microphones to ensure the safety of vehicle occupants and other road users. Moreover, it is supported by the other steering, braking, and onboard electrical systems of the automaker for good measure.

With it, drivers can attend to secondary activities on the road like watching a movie, tinkering with their phones, gaming, and others while Drive Pilot is active. However, there’s a clear emphasis on the word “conditional” in the application of Mercedes for the use of its self-driving tech because, despite the automation it offers, drivers are still required to take over the control of the vehicle in critical moments, especially when the system is exhibiting signs of malfunction or the auto is on the verge of a collision.

Right now, only the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and EQS offer the Drive Pilot as an option. Mercedes plans to roll them out to other models in the future.

Mercedes is likewise working on fitting its autonomous vehicles with turquoise marker lights to indicate whether or not they are driving on their own.

The Mercedes-Benz and China Bond

China is currently considered a vital location for luxury brands like Mercedes-Benz. This is due to the growing purchasing power of the country’s middle class and the increasing number of high-net-worth individuals there.

Mercedes has established key joint ventures in the giant Asian nation that have been instrumental in its foothold over the luxury vehicle niche. This is why its CEO, Ola Källenius, has always opposed calls for the European Union to impose higher tariffs on products imported from China. The company’s largest stakeholders are located there, too, which stresses the importance of the area in its operations.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that most of its new features are directed there. It should be noted as well that the German automaker constantly centers exclusive models in China from time to time like the long-wheelbase variants of its C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class core models.

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About Author

Giancarlo Perlas

Giancarlo Perlas is an economist by profession with a career spanning nearly two decades. His professional journey has seen him assume vital roles in various government and private organizations, particularly in the blockchain and cryptocurrency sectors. Alongside his civic and corporate pursuits is his love for cars, particularly those made by Mercedes-Benz. In 2012, he found himself with like-minded individuals within BenzInsider. From then on, he used the platform as a way to share his passion with the automotive community. Follow his Facebook page at, X (formerly Twitter) @giancarloperlas, and IG @benzinsider. View all posts by Giancarlo Perlas →

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