On December 2, 2021, the German Federal Motor Transport Authority granted the world's first type approval in the field of automated driving for an automatic lane-keeping system for a Mercedes-Benz model.
The basis for the approval is UN Regulation No. 157, which defines internationally harmonized safety requirements for automated lane keeping systems (ALKS). According to a dpa report, the Mercedes-Benz model in question is S-Class luxury sedans.
»This type approval for automated driving granted by the Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) is an important first step on the road to automation,« according to Richard Damm, president of the KBA. »The KBA is setting standards in road safety nationally, Europe-wide and internationally on the road to autonomous driving. This is the key point, because it requires consumer confidence in the safety of the new technologies. To create this trust, we have applied a strict standard that we, as a pioneer in this field, will also adhere to as we move forward.«
The automatic lane-keeping system is classified as Level 3 automation. This is an automated mode in which the driver does not have to continuously monitor the system. UN Regulation No. 157 still limits the use of ALKS in its current form to highway-like roads up to a speed of 60 km/h. Under this condition, the driver can perform non-driving activities when the ALKS function is switched on. However, the driver must be prepared to resume driving at any time after being requested to do so.
The KBA had been actively involved in the development of the regulations at UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe) level for many years and set the course for implementation at an early stage. For example, internal processes were adapted in a very short time to implement the requirements of UN Regulations No. 155 (cyber security) and No. 156 (software update), which are also new. These are a prerequisite for approval under UN Regulation No. 157.