While autonomous vehicles don’t seem to be making the headlines as much these days, there is still some significant development taking place. So, much so, that I recently flew to California to drive…or not drive…what Mercedes-Benz has been working on.

“So, I’m driving a new EQS sedan with Mercedes-Benz latest DRIVE PILOT system, the first with Level 3 certified for operation here in the U.S.”

What does that mean exactly? Well, Level 3 automated driving means that the car itself will take full control and full responsibility for all steering, acceleration, and braking inputs when on suitable highways and all necessary conditions are met. No interaction from the driver required at speeds up to 40 miles-per-hour; meaning it primarily does the hard work for you in heavy traffic situations.

“So under the watchful eye of safety expert Hans from Mercedes-Benz, we’re in the I-10 sitting in traffic in LA and so far so good. Car is doing all of the driving…maintaining our space in the lane here. Also I like the fact that it’s keeping us right in the center of the lane. We’re not like bouncing back and forth between the markings. And so far, so good.”

While I had much skepticism as to the merits of Level 3 automated driving, going in, when you think about it, the absolute worst part of driving is sitting in traffic. So, if it’s feasible and safe to do so, why not let the car take over in these situations so you can make better use of your time.

The technology behind Mercedes-Benz DRIVE PILOT is already well-proven, and it worked without any hiccups or missteps during my seat time; automated driving is here… whether you’re ready for it or not.