An Interview with Konstantin Fichtner, Project-Lead Lidar Drive Pilot Level 3 at Mercedes-Benz.

We spoke with Konstantin Fichtner, Project-Lead Lidar Drive Pilot Level 3 at Mercedes-Benz to find out more about his talk on “Mercedes Benz Drivepilot Level 3” at AutoSens Detroit this 9-11 May. Read on to see what he had to say…

1. We are all interested to hear how cars will transition from level 2 to level 3. Your presentation will focus on how this goal is being achieved by Mercedes – Benz, can you give us some further details?

We rely on the fusion of radar and camera data already today in Level 2 systems. DRIVE PILOT builds on the environment sensor technology of our Driving Assistance Package and includes additional sensors that Mercedes-Benz considers essential for safe conditionally automated driving. We attach great importance to the greatest possible safety with the highest level of comfort, which is also reflected in our sensor setup. This includes LiDAR, an advanced stereo camera as well as mono camera in the rear window and microphones, especially for detecting blue lights and other special signals from emergency vehicles, as well as a moisture sensor in the wheel arch. The sensor types complement each other in their physical measurement principles: if, for example, the SMPC is dazzled by low sun, radar / LiDAR can compensate.

2. What is the sensor setup being used and, in particular, what is the strength of the lidar sensor?

Our philosophy is the redundantly installed hardware supplemented by the physical measuring principles, algorithms and their networking with each other. This allows the optimum properties to be used from the different measuring principles. In order to remain multiply redundant (including mutual confirmation of the physically different measuring principles) in the event of a sensor failure (e.g. due to dirt, stone impact or similar), we are introducing a 3rd sensor type – the LiDAR.

3. How long do you think it will be until we see more level 3 vehicles on the road? Will level 4 be close behind do you think?

DRIVE PILOT is offered in Germany as the launch market. Orders for the S-Class and the EQS equipped with the new DRIVE PILOT started on May 17, 2022 and first cars are now in customer hands. Additionally, Mercedes-Benz is the world’s first automotive company to bring SAE Level 3 conditionally automated driving to the U.S., with Nevada being the first state to confirm the compliance of the system with state regulations (Nevada Chapter 482A for Autonomous Vehicles). Mercedes-Benz has the ambition to continue to expand to California later this year with the certification documents already filed with state authorities.

In regards to Level 4, we already offers the world’s first and only highly automated parking system for production vehicles for an automated valet parking service in Germany. When it comes to freeway applications, it is our ambition to offer a Level 4 system by the end of this decade.

4. What are you most looking forward to at AutoSens Detroit?

Since this is my first AutoSens, I am really looking forward to the presentations and discussions as well as the networking. Additionally since Mercedes-Benz is the only OEM with L2, L3 and L4 systems already available to its customers I am looking forward to inform in detail other participant of our achievements.


Join Konstantin and many other ADAS and AV specialists in Detroit this 9-11 May! Grab your pass here:

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