The next Mercedes-Benz S-Class will feature level 3 autonomous driving tech

The next Mercedes-Benz S class will offer the brand's first self-driving system capable of eyes-off conditional autonomy.

The technology will be introduced in the brand's flagship model before eventually trickling down into lower segment vehicle, Ola Kaellenius, Daimler's head of research, told reporters at the Paris auto show last week. Kaellenius will succeed Dieter Zetsche as Daimler and Mercedes CEO in May.

"We are on the verge of jumping to Level 3, which is our target for the next S class," Kaellenius said. "That is something that you can then buy as an option, and you can proliferate it relatively quickly into higher volumes — especially with a brand like Mercedes."

When asked whether Mercedes' technology would arrive before BMW comes to market in 2021 with its own Level 3 system planned for the iNext, Kaellenius indicated Mercedes would be first. "The next S class is due for 2020, so the timeframe should be realistic," he said.

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