AutosMercedes paves the way for future self-driving cars with turquoise LED lights

Mercedes paves the way for future self-driving cars with turquoise LED lights

Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
Images source: © Press materials | Mercedes-Benz AG
5:48 PM EST, December 20, 2023

The turquoise lighting might evoke memories of the tuning from movies like "Fast and Furious" or "Need for Speed". However, this isn't just about adding neon undercarriage lights – it's a solution that could set the new standard for future vehicles. Mercedes is the first auto manufacturer in the world that has secured special permission in California and Nevada to utilize turquoise edge lighting. These unusual LEDs will be featured in the main headlights, side mirror housings, and corners of the rear lights. The solution will be implemented in EQS and S-class models starting from 2024.

The turquoise light activates when the driver engages the Drive Pilot function. This advanced Level 3 automated driving system permits drivers in California and Nevada to remove their hands from the wheel while driving, as long as it's on designated road sections. While in this mode, drivers can engage in activities other than monitoring the road, though they must be prepared to resume control of the vehicle instantly. The sight of a driver not holding the steering wheel and focusing elsewhere can be unsettling for other drivers and the police. This is where the turquoise light proves useful, allowing others to identify the system's status and discern whether the driver is breaking the law or leveraging their car's technological capabilities lawfully.

Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights© Press materials | Mercedes-Benz AG

Why the specific choice of turquoise light? According to Mercedes, it fulfills two crucial criteria: it ensures quick and reliable recognition by other road users, and it's distinct from existing vehicle lighting and traffic signals. Furthermore, testing has shown that turquoise scores higher than other colors in terms of both physiological and psychological factors. The solution at Mercedes was crafted by an interdisciplinary team of engineers, technical and homologation compliance managers, data protection inspectors, and ethics experts.

Mercedes aims to globally standardize the color turquoise as a visual indicator of automated driving status. Currently, neither in the US, China, nor Europe is there uniform regulations that delineate the usage of turquoise lights in production cars. As Mercedes is trailblazing in this domain, there's a good likelihood that other manufacturers will adopt its lead. However, the permission to use turquoise lights in California and Nevada is only temporary for now.

  • Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
  • Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
  • Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
  • Mercedes EQS with turquoise lights
[1/4] Mercedes EQS with turquoise lightsImages source: © Press materials

The Drive Pilot system was certified in Germany in 2021 and in Nevada and California in 2023. Within the U.S., Mercedes will need to apply individually for permits in each state. For instance, cars purchased in Florida or New York currently do not have this feature enabled.

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