The new EQS: DRIVE PILOT for conditionally automated driving and parking
It is expected that from the first half of 2022, the EQS with the new DRIVE PILOT will be able to drive in conditionally automated mode at speeds of up to 60 km/h in heavy traffic or congested situations on suitable sections of motorway in Germany. This relieves the burden on drivers and enables them to carry out secondary activities such as surfing the internet or processing emails in the In-Car Office. This allows them to use their time more effectively. Mercedes-Benz goes a step further when it comes to parking: With the pre-installation for the INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT, the EQS is prepared for Automated Valet Parking (AVP, SAE level 4). Together with the required optional equipment and the corresponding Connect service (depending on the country), the new EQS has the technology on board to park and unpark fully automatically and driverless in car parks equipped with AVP infrastructure, provided that national laws permit such operation.
On suitable motorway sections and where traffic density is high, the DRIVE PILOT can offer to take over the driving, initially up to the legally permitted speed of 60 km/h. The controls needed for this are located in the steering wheel rim, on the left and right above the thumb recesses. When the driver activates the DRIVE PILOT, the system controls the speed and distance, and effortlessly guides the vehicle within its lane. The route profile, events occurring on the route and traffic signs are correspondingly taken into consideration. The DRIVE PILOT can also recognise unexpected traffic situations, and deal with them autonomously by evasive action within its lane or braking action.
With the LiDAR sensor and redundant systems
The DRIVE PILOT builds on the surround sensors of the Driving Assistance Package and comprises additional sensors that Mercedes-Benz considers indispensable for safe conditionally automated driving. These include LiDAR, an additional camera in the rear windscreen and microphones, which are particularly useful for recognising the flashing blue lights and special signals of emergency vehicles. In addition to the sensor data, the DRIVE PILOT receives information about the road geometry, route profile, traffic signs and unusual traffic events (e.g. accidents or roadworks) from a digital HD map. This is made available via a back-end connection and is also continuously updated in a self-learning manner. The vehicle's location is determined using a highly precise positioning system that goes well beyond the usual GPS systems. The EQS with the optional DRIVE PILOT also has redundant steering and brake systems and a redundant on-board electrical system, so that it remains manoeuvrable even if one of these systems fails and the safe handover to the driver is ensured.
A powerful central control unit provides the necessary sophisticated software functions for conditionally automated driving. Artificial intelligence is used for image processing, for example. As part of the state-of-the-art safety architecture, all algorithms are calculated twice.
While using the DRIVE PILOT, the driver can turn away from what is happening on the road and engage in certain secondary activities, e.g. communicating with colleagues via In-Car Office, browsing on the internet or enjoying a relaxing seat massage. This is because in DRIVE PILOT mode, functions can be enabled that are otherwise blocked when driving.
Conditionally automated driving on suitable motorway sections where traffic density is high
When the vehicle approaches the end of a route section that is suitable for the DRIVE PILOT, for example a tunnel, or if other conditions change, perhaps the weather or the traffic situation (for example when a tailback begins to flow freely), the driver is prompted in good time to retake control. As a general principle, the driver must always be ready to retake control and immediately resume driving as necessary when the system prompts him/her to do so, or if it is obvious that the conditions for the intended use of the DRIVE PILOT no longer apply. Sleeping, looking to the rear for longer periods or even leaving the driver's seat are not permitted. To ensure that the driver is able to take control, the cameras of the driver display monitor movements of the head and eyelids.
If the driver fails to take back control even after increasingly urgent prompting, e.g. owing to a severe health problem, the DRIVE PILOT brakes the vehicle to a standstill in a controlled manner and with suitable deceleration. At the same time the hazard warning system and, once the vehicle has come to a standstill, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system are activated and the doors and windows are unlocked, to make access to the interior easier for any first responders. Naturally the driver can also deactivate the DRIVE PILOT at any time without any prompting by the system. This is done via the steering wheel buttons, or by manually intervening in the vehicle's control functions.
The general introduction of the DRIVE PILOT in other European countries, in the USA and China will follow gradually as the legal situation in each country provides for a surrendering of the driving task.
INTELLIGENT PARKING PILOT: highly automated driverless parking in suitable multi-storey car parks
Mercedes-Benz goes a step further when it comes to parking: With the pre-installation for the INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT, the EQS is prepared for Automated Valet Parking (AVP, SAE level 4). Together with the required optional equipment and the corresponding Connect service (depending on the country), the new EQS has the technology on board to park and unpark fully automatically and driverless in car parks equipped with AVP infrastructure, provided that national laws permit such operation.
The vision: The driver parks their vehicle securely within a predefined drop-off area of the parking garage and starts the parking process via smartphone app after all occupants have exited. The sensor system in the car park checks whether a suitable space is available. If so, the driver receives confirmation on the app that the vehicle has been taken over by the AVP infrastructure. Now they can leave the EQS and the car park.
The vehicle is then started automatically, and automatically drives to its parking space with the help of the infrastructure installed in the car park. Conversely, the driver can have their EQS drive up to a predefined pick-up area by smartphone command.
Remote Parking Assist: convenient parking and unparking from a distance
Without a driver on board, the EQS is on the move with Remote Parking. However, the driver is still responsible. Remote Parking Assist allows drivers to control a parking process via their smartphone and the Remote Parking App while outside but in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle. This means more comfort when getting in and out and protects against damage when opening the vehicle doors.
Remote Parking Assist parks the vehicle at the driver's request and under the driver's constant control if an appropriate parking scenario has been selected via the central display in the EQS or the app on the smartphone. The driver-monitored parking procedure continues automatically as long as the driver presses the touch surface on the smartphone while tilting it by 90°. If the control surface is no longer pressed or the smartphone is no longer tilted, the vehicle is automatically braked to a stop.
In addition to full in and out of parking spaces scenarios, Remote Parking Assist has an Exploration mode. This allows the EQS to move straight in and out of garage entrances or end-on parking spaces, for example, by using the smartphone for the last few metres.
It is not only this which has considerably simplified operation compared to the previous Remote Parking generation. Compatibility with different phones has also been increased. While the vehicle and smartphone previously communicated via Bluetooth, a WiFi connection in the 2.4 GHz band is now also available. Initially linking the vehicle and smartphone has also been improved. A QR code can now be used for faster, more convenient authorisation.
When remote parking, the driver continues to have full responsibility for the vehicle and its control during the entire parking procedure. He/she can interrupt or cancel the parking procedure with the smartphone or the vehicle key at any time, and take back control.
In addition to Remote Parking Assist, the Parking Package with remote parking functions also includes Memory Parking Assist. This SAE Level 2 system can remember parking locations such as how to get to and from the home garage. The driver sits behind the steering wheel and is asked if he or she would like to perform an automated parking procedure. Thanks to the memory function, the system remembers how to park in a learned parking space and automatically drives into the garage. If obstacles are detected, the system stops until they are removed.
 The legally permissible secondary activities of the driver depend on the relevant national traffic regulations.
 The service can be used free of charge for three years from activation