Mercedes OK’d Turquoise Lights for Autonomous Cars

Letting Others Know: Drive Pilot’s Exterior Lighting

Mercedes-Benz has recently been granted the go-ahead to apply remarkable exterior lighting for its EQS and S-Class cars that have the Drive Pilot feature up and running in both California and Nevada.

In California, Mercedes has been granted a special exemption permit that allows them to utilize turquoise-colored exterior lights. This is a unique feature that will let other drivers know when a vehicle is driving autonomously. The permit is limited to two years, but this could change in the future. In Nevada, the lighting system will be applied to 2026 Mercedes-Benz production vehicles and will be legal until “statutory modification is achieved with the state legislature.”

You may be wondering what the reason behind these lights might be, and Mercedes has multiple implications to explain why they are so essential. On top of having an understanding of the customer’s reaction to automated automobiles, this also educates the general public on self-driving technology perfectly. Despite some drivers being perplexed by the turquoise lights, it could eventually become a regular sight and raise awareness for automated vehicles in no time.

It is particularly essential to note that with the inclusion of indicators, law enforcers can discern if the system is actively being applied. If an officer passes by an S-Class in operation without an attentive driver, they just need to observe for the turquoise hued lamps. If these lights are illuminated, the cop can then infer that the vehicle is driving autonomously and proceed on. While it is advised to keep one’s eyes vigilantly on the way at all times, Mercedes has declared to accept liability for any accidents occurring while the car is functioning independently.

Designed conforming to SAE J3134 Recommended Practices, the lights are incorporated into the headlights, taillights, and side mirrors. Mercedes decided on turquoise as it is unmistakable and won’t be mistaken for existing lighting colors. Additionally, it isn’t linked to emergency vehicles, like darker blue. Fascinatingly, the automaker states that multiple test studies demonstrate that turquoise is the perfect color for automated driving. “Physiological and psychological factors both show higher values for almost all areas with turquoise rather than other colors.”

At the start, these automated headlights will be trialled on sample automobiles with the Drive Pilot system. These automobiles will begin cruising on highways in California, having installed what is believed to be the first SAE Level 3 automated driving configuration. Months after earning authorization to use Drive Pilot in Germany, Mercedes was given permission to introduce this cutting-edge technique in Nevada and California.

“Mercedes-Benz is leading the way in the automotive industry with the introduction of automated driving marker lights,” said Markus Schafer, Chief Technology Officer of Mercedes. “We are the first automaker to receive such approvals for use in the US, in California and Nevada. It is an important step in the development of automated driving vehicles, as communication and interaction between the vehicle and the environment become increasingly important as these vehicles populate the roads.”

It is noteworthy to state that BMW and some other corporations are utilizing their own Level 3 autonomous driving features. As for the more advanced Level 4 autonomy, Mercedes plans to debut this technology prior to 2030.

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