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posted by martyb on Wednesday December 15 2021, @02:32AM   Printer-friendly
from the Tesla-got-beat dept.

Trade magazine AVI and other sources are running this press release from Mercedes: Mercedes meets legal requirements for L3 driving on German roads:

Mercedes-Benz has become the first automotive company in the world to meet the legal requirements of UN-R157 for a Level 3 autonomous driving system. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) has granted system approval to Mercedes based on UN-R157, thus paving the way for international rollout of the system, provided that national legislation allows it.

Germany has taken a pioneering role in legislating for autonomous driving, following its establishment of the Road Traffic Act (StVG) for Level 3 systems in 2017. Thanks to this, customers will be able to buy an S-Class saloon equipped with Mercedes Drive Pilot in the first half of 2022, enabling them to drive in conditionally automated mode at speeds of up to 60km/h in heavy traffic or congested situations on suitable stretches of motorway in Germany.

"For many years, we have been working to realize our vision of automated driving. With this lidar-based system, we have developed an innovative technology for our vehicles that offers customers a unique, luxurious driving experience and gives them what matters most: time. With the approval of the authorities, we have now achieved a breakthrough: We are the first manufacturer to put conditionally automated driving into series production in Germany," said Markus Schäfer, member of the board of management of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz, chief technology officer responsible for development and purchasing.

Despite ongoing claims of "full self driving" by Elon Musk, the Tesla system is still SAE Level 2, which requires operator supervision (although there are many documented cases where this was not done). There are some differences between the SAE Levels and the UN-R157 spec.

Also at Ars Technica.


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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:16AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:16AM (#1205193)

    https://insideevs.com/news/553659/mercedes-level3-autonomous-driving-2022/ [insideevs.com]

    The roads on which the system works have been previously mapped out by Mercedes, so the manufacturer’s approach to autonomous driving is quite different to, say, Tesla’s. Drive Pilot relies on LiDAR sensors, cameras, outside microphones (to hear approaching emergency vehicles), advanced positioning system (much more advanced and accurate than regular GPS) and vehicles equipped with it will also get a redundant electrical system that will keep steering and brakes functional in case any of the primary systems fail.

    And if you were wondering what the difference between Level 2 (partial automation) and Level 3 (conditional automation) autonomous driving is, well, here’s how they are similar first: for both levels a driver is still needed to take control, although for Level 3 the driver won’t be prompted to take control after a given interval when he or she has not touched the steering wheel - this is the first time ever when a carmaker says you don’t have to pay attention to the road.

    Level 3 self-driving vehicles are also able to react to their environment and make decisions on the fly in situations in which a Level 2 vehicle would urge the driver to take control. Audi’s new A8, which debuted in 2019, was supposed to be the first Level 3-capable vehicle, but it seems Mercedes has now taken the lead in this respect.

    Was not able to find the price of this option anywhere...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:35AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:35AM (#1205197)

    I was curious whether Mercedes had partnered with anyone such as Mobileye, but it turns out they partnered with NVIDIA.

    https://techtime.news/2020/06/26/mobileye-10/ [techtime.news]

    I'm sure that this is not the news that Intel wanted to be seeing with a Mobileye IPO on the horizon, especially given the rivalry between Intel and NVIDIA.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:48AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:48AM (#1205202)

      OP here. After some more consideration, I'm wondering if Intel got wind of this news, and that is what triggered their thoughts to spin off Mobileye -- might as well try and get as much cash as they can out of Mobileye before Mercedes has their vehicles on the market if they think there is a chance that they won't be able to catch up to Mercedes current position.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by RS3 on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:01AM (17 children)

    by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:01AM (#1205206)

    Sorry if this has been answered before: does anyone know who will be held liable for any damages caused by a self-driving car?

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:03AM (8 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:03AM (#1205208)

      I suspect we won't know the answer to that until the first court cases start getting decided.

      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:10AM (3 children)

        by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:10AM (#1205210)

        So, the cart before the horse...

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:42AM (2 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:42AM (#1205215)

          Yep. The horse has enough intelligence to take the drunk home, even if the drunk falls asleep at the "wheel".
          100+ years later there is a replacement for the horse...

          • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Unixnut on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:12AM (1 child)

            by Unixnut (5779) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:12AM (#1205260)

            Not quite a horse replacement. Horses still have an innate sense of self preservation common to all life, so can be more trusted than a machine, that can (due to bug or deliberate programming) happily destroy itself and any passengers it is carrying.

            • (Score: 1, Offtopic) by ChrisMaple on Thursday December 16 2021, @07:13AM

              by ChrisMaple (6964) on Thursday December 16 2021, @07:13AM (#1205514)

              Horses have a built-in safety feature that prevents them from going 60 mph. On the other hand, a fall off a horse led to Christoper Reeve's spinal injury and eventual death.

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by gawdonblue on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:25AM (3 children)

        by gawdonblue (412) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:25AM (#1205238)

        Well if the court case is in the USA and it's the foreign company Mercedes defending then Mercedes will be liable, obviously. If it's an American company defending, e.g. Tesla, then no one will ever find out.

        • (Score: 5, Informative) by bradley13 on Wednesday December 15 2021, @09:08AM (2 children)

          by bradley13 (3053) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @09:08AM (#1205250) Homepage Journal

          You joke, but you are not wrong. The US tort system is more of a lottery than a justice system: you never know who is going to be held liable, and the awards given are random and sometimes absurdly high. "Let's slip and fall down, and hope to be set for life" - this idiocy is uniquely American.

          Anyway, in the case of Germany, they are busily working out the details. I found a draft, written in March [bundestag.de], and apparently some version of this draft became law in May. I only skimmed the text, and German legalese is just as fun as legalese anywhere else, but as I understand it: the primary liability remands with the person operating the vehicle. They are the "technical overseer", even if they are not actively driving. Just like someone operating any other heavy machinery: the machine may be doing its job, but the human is ultimately responsible. Accordingly, the owner of the vehicle is required to carry appropriate liability insurance, just as is now the case. It's your car, and if you let someone else drive it, your insurance covers the vehicle.

          --
          Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:14PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @03:14PM (#1205296)

            suppose you need to unlock the self-driving capabilities everytime you want to activate it, by scanning the thumb print and confirming "okay, i agree to take responsibility for the self-driving car"?
            ofc, a thief stealing the auto-car would/could do the same and also activate "get-away mode" :)

            side note: as much as i luv german engineering as the next guy, i have seen the latest full electrics from bmw (and others there) and somehow it just does NOT jive with the spirit of a "energie wende". maybe i'm just jealous with my "plastic car" but it looks like the same wastefull luxury as before only now turning into a "green-energy" sinkhole ('cause all that green energy goes to waste, since the e-bmw does't really contribute to more availability of renewable energy?). there's a word "graue energy"; i think it means the energy (and resources) imbodied in a object that was needed to create it? still flaunting it; kindda missed the point ...

          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DannyB on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:39PM

            by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:39PM (#1205357) Journal

            Just like someone operating any other heavy machinery: the machine may be doing its job, but the human is ultimately responsible.

            This does not appear to be the way of things for accidents in elevators in tall buildings.

            But that makes sense. An elevator in proper working order is quite safe. If not safe, it's not in working order, and that falls on the owner of the elevator (or building). Or manufacturer if the design is not safe.

            Interesting Question: I wonder if self driving cars (specifically the self driving part) ought to get regular inspections just like building elevators do? (Something beyond a vehicle inspection for turn signals, wipers, etc.)

            --
            If you have one of those computers that makes it difficult to get work done, use Hyper-V to install Linux.
    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:41PM (4 children)

      by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:41PM (#1205321) Journal

      Fortunately, self driving vehicles have tons[1] of sensor data to prove that the another vehicle with a human driver was at fault.

      [1]sorry I didn't have the conversion factor handy from number of tons to number of gigabytes.

      --
      If you have one of those computers that makes it difficult to get work done, use Hyper-V to install Linux.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:46PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @04:46PM (#1205322)

        All that data won't influence a jury in a court of law quite as well as a simple dashcam (and rear cam).

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:31PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:31PM (#1205351) Journal

          That sensor data includes but is not limited to camera data.

          --
          If you have one of those computers that makes it difficult to get work done, use Hyper-V to install Linux.
      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:04PM (1 child)

        by RS3 (6367) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:04PM (#1205346)

        Refined question: what if all of the data shows algorithmic error, and/or hardware failure?

        • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:34PM

          by DannyB (5839) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:34PM (#1205353) Journal

          That makes the accident more like: "oh, my gosh! My brakes failed!"

          The liability may be on the car that had equipment failure. But there is no negligence on the part of the driver.

          Of course, questions could be asked if the brake design was inadequate to the task, just like the self driving apparatus was adequate to the task.

          --
          If you have one of those computers that makes it difficult to get work done, use Hyper-V to install Linux.
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by acid andy on Thursday December 16 2021, @01:20AM (2 children)

      by acid andy (1683) on Thursday December 16 2021, @01:20AM (#1205461) Homepage Journal

      Maybe they'll argue that the AI that drives the car can be tried as a person and must then devote CPU cycles to mining Bitcoins to pay the fines it owes.

      --
      If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:38AM

        by RS3 (6367) on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:38AM (#1205507)

        You perhaps jest, but I can't help wondering if something like that is a future possibility.

        So how does one handcuff an AI and lead it out of the courtroom?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:34PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @06:34PM (#1205615)

        That only penalizes the owner who provides the energy for the computation.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Frosty Piss on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:16AM (4 children)

    by Frosty Piss (4971) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:16AM (#1205237)

    The headline and the article say two different things. The headline says Mercedes is *offering* this option. The article says Mercedes has been *licensed* according to the standard. These are not the same thing.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:53AM (3 children)

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @07:53AM (#1205245) Journal

      The headline misses the actual verb that would tell you the time. Thus the full sentence it represents could be “Mercedes is the first to offer level 3 self-driving”, which is obviously the interpretation you assumed, but it also can mean “Mercedes will be the first to offer level 3 self-driving” which is consistent with the summary.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Frosty Piss on Wednesday December 15 2021, @08:18AM (2 children)

        by Frosty Piss (4971) on Wednesday December 15 2021, @08:18AM (#1205246)

        Nonsense. Mercedes is not offering the feature at all at the moment. Since it is not as yet offering this feature, there is really no telling if it will be the first to offer it. In fact another car manufacturer could soon achieve this licensing and beat Mercedes to the showroom.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:13PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday December 15 2021, @11:13PM (#1205440)

          Hm... I wonder who submitted this. :) Me? I suspect incompetence rather than malice. You know? :)

        • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Thursday December 16 2021, @01:25AM

          by acid andy (1683) on Thursday December 16 2021, @01:25AM (#1205463) Homepage Journal

          maxwell demon's statement is still correct. If another manufacturer beats Mercedes to the showroom, the full sentence could be “Mercedes would have been the first to offer level 3 self-driving” or even “Mercedes could have been the first to offer level 3 self-driving”.

          --
          If a cat has kittens, does a rat have rittens, a bat bittens and a mat mittens?
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @03:09AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 16 2021, @03:09AM (#1205485)

    Mercedes is only level 3 when the vehicle senses it is on a test rig. On the real road it is only L2 or L1. Kinda like the emissions testing.

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