California state authorities have certified the Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot system, enabling ‘conditionally automated driving’ at SAE Level 3.

The automaker is the first authorised to introduce such a system for standard-production vehicles on public motorways in the state.

Starting with the 2024 model year, Drive Pilot will be optional for the S-Class and EQS sedan models sold in the state.

The system allows drivers to engage in other activities while driving and can take over driving at up to 40mph (60km/h) on suitable road sections.

The automaker aims to achieve speeds of up to 80mph (120km/h) in the future.

Mercedes said Drive Pilot has advanced sensors and redundancy measures to ensure safety and compliance. These include LiDAR, a rear window camera and microphones to detect emergency vehicle sirens.

NVIDIA and Luminar supply system technology and components.