“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
“I feel that life is measured in achievement, not in years alone.”
Illustration for article titled Random Take: Mercedes move to act like their Autopilot system doesnt exist is the right one.

Here’s something you may or may not know. Mercedes E- and S-Classes have something called “Drive Pilot” that comes with their driver assistance packages and it currently has feature parity with Tesla’s Autopilot. When the 213 E-Class launched in 2016, Mercedes made an ad implying it was self driving. They got in some hot water and pulled the ad.


Then they never spoke of it again. But they didn’t remove the feature; they just act like it doesn’t exist. They even went as far as removing any reference to it from their window stickers or DOG (dealer order guides). Now they just list all of the individual elements like “lane change assist” and “active steering assist” that when combined make their “Drive Pilot” system. Which is smart of them. By avoiding any overt reference or continuing to advertise the system, they avoid the scrutiny and “heat” Tesla has been taking. It’s hard for customers to take advantage of and then blame a system they have no idea exists. The system is off from the factory and you have to press a small button with a steering wheel icon obscured by the actual steering wheel to activate it. It does everything Autopilot does, steers, manages follow distance, will change lanes if you use the turn signal, monitors traffic in other lanes, etc. After that ad at the beginning of the W213's life, Mercedes made the decision to fly under the radar with their system, ensuring that Tesla alone gets blamed for every owner that thinks they can take a nap or read the newspaper while their car drives them. Smart.

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