It will very soon be possible to use level 3 of autonomous driving in France! This will allow the driver to let go of the steering wheel, which is currently not permitted.
From September 1, it will be possible and legal on the roads of France to enjoy level 3 autonomous driving. The decree published in the Official Journal a year ago will take effect on this date, following in the footsteps of a regulation European Union which authorizes this type of driving from July 14, 2022. Of course, restrictions have been put in place.
Thus, level 3 driving will only be allowed on lanes without pedestrians or cyclists. To benefit from it, you will also have to drive on roads that are equipped with a central separator between the directions of traffic. And then the maximum authorized speed is 60 km/h maximum. Despite everything, this authorization remains an advance compared to the current level 2.
Level 3 allows a driver to release the steering wheel on the road, which is prohibited in levels 1 and 2. Moreover, the vehicle must alert the motorist when his hands leave the steering wheel. This will no longer be the case with Level 3, which gives the car more autonomy to handle driving on its own. Nevertheless, the driver must be able to intervene at any time, in cases where the software alone cannot determine the procedure to follow.
Level 2 essentially authorizes two technologies, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping assistance. This is also what Tesla models offer, even if the manufacturer is working on a much more complete FSD (Full Self-Driving) mode in the United States, even if it is still in beta.
Currently, there is only one level 3 technology that has received the green light from European authorities, it is the Mercedes-Benz Drive Pilot, integrated into the S-Class.