Mercedes-Benz hopes to introduce Level 3 autonomous driving in the U.S. this year, CEO Ola Kallenius said, after winning certification in Germany for the technology last year.
"It’s our objective to roll out this technology this year," Kallenius told reporters on Thursday during Mercedes' 2021 results call.
Mercedes has been conducting tests in the U.S. and talking to the authorities there, he said, without offering specifics other than to say he hoped the technology could be offered on a wide scale rather than piecemeal.
Mercedes was the first automaker to receive clearance from Germany's car watchdog for its Level 3 driving system, which it calls Drive Pilot, last December, based on technical requirements laid out in United Nations regulations.
Drive Pilot can operate at 60 kph (37 mph) or below, on certain German highways -- what Kallenius described as heavy-traffic or traffic jam situations.
Drivers can take their hands off the wheel and engage in "certain secondary activities" such as watching movies, sending e-mails or communicating with colleagues, Mercedes says.
Mercedes plans to offer the S-Class with Drive Pilot to customers in Germany in the first half of 2022, and the same feature will be available on the EQS full-electric sedan, Kallenius said.
The automaker has also been in discussions with the authorities in China about introducing the system there, he said.