Mercedes and Luminar extend their agreement on the generalization of the lidar Iris

In December 2021, Mercedes became the first car manufacturer to obtain the green light from the German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) for Level 3 autonomous driving, or SAE 3. An approval which allowed the brand to the star to establish itself as the first in the world to equip its vehicles with an automated driving system valid at international level.

Called Drive Pilot, this semi-autonomous driving system integrates a multitude of ultrasonic sensors, but also radar, cameras and a Scala 2 lidar from the French equipment manufacturer Valeo. This third generation of lidar saw its range multiplied by three, with an increase in its resolution and its angle of view. Result, the Scala 2 works whatever the weather conditions, remains insensitive “to variations in brightness“, is not blinded by the rays of the sun and sees in the dark.

mercedes drive pilot

The use of a Valeo lidar does not mean that Mercedes has closed the door to other OEMs. Proof of this is with a new partnership, or rather the extension of a collaboration (initiated two years ago) with Luminar Technologies. The contract amount is “multi-billion dollar“.

Based in Florida (USA), Luminar Technologies is a specialist in the development of lidar technology. Its main achievement: equipping the Polestar 3 and the next Volvo EX90 with its Iris lidar released in October 2022.

luminar technologies lidar iris volvo ex90

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The American equipment manufacturer has announced that it has successfully completed the various test phases of the next generation of its Iris lidar with Mercedes. It will be unveiled during the presentation of the financial figures for the 4th quarter of 2022, which will take place shortly.

This new Iris lidar, which will be integrated into future Mercedes vehicles equipped with Drive Pilot, the level 3 semi-autonomous driving system, will allow higher speeds on the motorway – beyond the 60 km/h currently in force – and will improve the assisted driving experience in urban areas.

mercedes drive pilot

Remember that the Drive Pilot is an option only offered on Class S (from €5,000) and on EQS (€2,430 of driving aids + the Drive Pilot at €5,000). Its functionalities: monitor the speed, distance and maintenance of the vehicle in its lane while taking into account the route, any incidents and of course the traffic signs. The system is capable of carrying out evasive maneuvers and braking on its own. It will also intervene if the driver does not respond to a request to regain control of the vehicle. Finally, Drive Pilot can also recognize emergency vehicles.

“Freed” from driving, the driver can go about other occupations such as surfing the Web, reading emails, chatting with friends or even watching a movie, all from the central infotainment screen.

Neither Mercedes nor Luminar Technologies have confirmed the use of the Iris lidar with Park Pilot, a function allowing the vehicle to park itself.

For now, Germany is the only European country to allow level 3 autonomous driving. Mercedes is working to certify its Drive Pilot in California and Nevada, the precursors in this area.

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