Last week BMW said it was licensed to test vehicles with L3 self-driving features in Shanghai.

(Image credit: Mercedes-Benz)

German luxury carmaker Mercedes-Benz has been permitted to test vehicles with self-driving features in Beijing, after BMW received a similar permit in Shanghai last week.

Mercedes-Benz became one of the first companies to be approved to conduct L3 self-driving road tests on highways in Beijing, as the city published rules for road testing of vehicles with conditional self-driving functions on December 16, it announced today.

Mercedes-Benz will put safety first and officially launch real-world testing of its conditional autonomous driving system on designated highways in Beijing, it said.

In Germany, Mercedes-Benz has already introduced an optional L3 self-driving system on the S-Class sedan and the all-electric EQS, allowing drivers to enable L3 self-driving mode at speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour.

During the system's activation, drivers can focus on activities such as working in the car, browsing the web and watching videos without having to pay attention to the traffic road conditions, Mercedes said.

Currently, Mercedes is accelerating the optimization of the L3 system with a view to making it possible to apply speeds of up to 130 km/h on highways by the end of this decade, it said.

In China, Mercedes works with Chinese partners to bring tailor-made products to Chinese customers, it said.

This year, Mercedes-Benz introduced the L2+ navigation-assisted driving feature on the new long-wheelbase E-Class, developed by its Chinese team, which covers highways and urban expressways across the country and enables highway point-to-point navigation-assisted driving capability, according to the company.

Mercedes-Benz's R&D team in China is growing and will grow to 2,000 by the end of 2023, it said.

Mercedes-Benz has become the latest foreign automaker to be allowed to conduct L3 self-driving tests in China. On December 14, BMW was allowed to test vehicles with L3 self-driving capabilities in Shanghai.

BMW's China R&D team is actively carrying out localized research and development of the L3 self-driving function, and is fully prepared for the future adaptation of the function in China, it said last week.

US auto giant General Motors announced in August that it had received a license in Shanghai to conduct L4 self-driving road tests in designated areas.

's FSD (Full Self-Driving) system has yet to be introduced into China, despite it being seen as a global leader in autonomous driving.

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