Mercedes has now been approved in two states to be able to use turquoise lights to signify when its vehicles are in an automated driving mode.
On Tuesday, Mercedes shared a press release announcing that it has received exemptions in California and Nevada to test special turquoise marker lights to indicate its automated driving mode. The states have each granted permit approvals that allow Mercedes to use the colored lights in certain EQS and S-Class vehicles equipped with its Drive Pilot partially automated driving mode.
“We are the first automaker in the world to receive such approvals in the U.S., specifically in California and Nevada,” said Markus Schäfer, Mercedes-Benz board member and Chief Technology Officer of Development & Purchasing. “The more automated driving vehicles populate the road, the more important communication and interaction between the vehicle and the environment become.”
The turquoise lights will be integrated into the headlights, taillights and side mirrors of Mercedes’s vehicles, set to show surrounding drivers that the cars are driving in the partially automated driving mode.
The California permit has an initial limit of two years, while the Nevada permit specifically applies to the 2026 EQS and S-Class model years. In addition, the Nevada permit will remain valid until any legislative changes are made in the state legislature.
Mercedes said it chose turquoise to differentiate from existing emergency and traffic light colors, in accordance with SAE International’s J3134 recommendation of “ADS Marker Lamps,” which suggests the color for use with automated driving systems. The turquoise color comes as an exemption to the currently approved amber, white and red lights, which are used to indicate the use of turn signals or caution lights, forward driving, and reverse driving, respectively.
The automaker also says it hopes the color will be used to help create an industry-wide standard, adding that there are no regulations for automated driving indications in auto markets around the world.
Drive Pilot, Mercedes’s automated driving system rated by SAE International for Level 3 automation, gained approval in the U.S. earlier this year. The company is set to begin customer deliveries of Drive Pilot-equipped vehicles in early 2024 in California and Nevada.
You can see SAE International’s automated driving levels below.
It also comes amidst significant scrutiny over Tesla’s Full Self-Driving (FSD) beta, which is generally considered to be operating at a Level 2 of automation, since drivers are expected to continue monitoring the vehicle at all times. The FSD beta is available to Tesla owners who purchase it, and it offers automated steering, braking and acceleration, though drivers are warned to be prepared to take over driving at any moment.