Published on December 20th, 2023 | by Subhash Nair0
Mercedes-Benz Is The 1st Brand To Use Special Permits To Use Turquoise Lights To Identify Automated Vehicles
Mercedes-Benz will use turquoise market lights on future self-driving cars in Nevada & California.
Self-driving tech has been the “next frontier” for the last ten years now, but regulators are still understandably skeptical and cautious about letting self-driving cars out in the wild. There are some companies, like Tesla, that have been trying to skirt around the rules where they can, but even they’ve been forced to make changes. Carmakers need real-world testing to make sure the tech is safe, but real world testing of self-driving cars has too many inherent risks. Clearly a balance needs to be struck and one way is by having self-driving cars convey clearly to other road users when they are being “self-driven”.
This is where Mercedes-Benz has decided to put its best foot forward. The German brand has just received permits for “special exterior market lights” for automated driving in the states of California and Nevada. These permits allow Mercedes-Benz to equip turquoise-coloured marker lights on the front and rear lights as well as the side mirrors on self-driving test vehicles in those states. This will help law enforcement officers and other road users to identify automated driving and slowly create a public awareness and acceptance of when this is happening.
“With the development of automated driving marker lights, Mercedes-Benz is once again setting new industry standards. We are the first automaker in the world to receive such approvals in the U.S., specifically in California and Nevada. The more automated driving vehicles populate the road, the more important communication and interaction between the vehicle and the environment become.”
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, Development & Purchasing
The first SAE-Level 3 self-driving vehicle from Mercedes-Benz came about in 2021 in Germany and has been available for order there since 2022. This Drive Pilot feature recently made their debut on the freeways of California and Nevada.
Turquoise was chosen as it’s fulfills two essential criteria – primarily, it’s because it’s a highly visible light colour that is distinct from existing vehicle lighting such as brake lights, traffic lights, etc. The second reason is because test studies have shown that both physiological and psychological factors attest to higher values in turquoise for signaling automated driving and is even an industry-recommended colour as per SAE J3134 “ADS Marker Lamps”.
While all this is still brand new, Mercedes-Benz and other players in the industry are committed to making this the future of globally harmonized regulation around automated driving.