Autonomous Vehicles: Turquoise signaling lights

29 December 2023 BY Jean-Sébastien Poudrier

The governments of California and Nevada have just given their authorization to Mercedes-Benz to launch a new pilot project. Autonomous vehicles equipped with turquoise signaling lights will soon be able to operate on the roads of both states.

 

For now, Mercedes-Benz will be able to test this new technology on California roads for a period of two years. Meanwhile, the state of Nevada will allow production vehicles to be equipped with signaling lights starting in the 2026 model year.

 

Vehicles equipped with these lights will offer Level 3 autonomous driving. This refers to a form of autonomous driving where the vehicle can operate itself temporarily. For example, the Cadillac Escalade with its Super Cruise system currently offers this type of driving. The idea is to enable the driver to do something else while the vehicle drives itself. However, it\'s essential to remember that the driver must be capable of regaining control of the vehicle at any moment. The first models to receive these new technologies will be the S-Class sedans and EQS.

 

The Importance of Communication

 

Lights are crucial when it comes to automobiles. Of course, it\'s something so common that we sometimes overlook it. With traffic lights, we know that green means go, yellow indicates slowing down, and red means stop. Modern vehicles have specific brand-specific rear lights, and there are also amber-colored lights used to indicate a change of direction. Emergency vehicles are also equipped with lights of specific colors, such as police cars, which are the only ones using combined blue and red. There are also green beacons for firefighters.

 

Autonomous vehicles are increasingly present on the road, and I think it\'s a good idea to be able to identify them. I still remember an event that made me a bit scared. I was driving a vehicle equipped with autonomous driving, and it was supposed to perform an overtaking maneuver on its own. Another vehicle came up behind me at an alarming speed during the maneuver. So, I took control to avoid a collision. If the vehicle I was driving had turquoise signaling lights, the driver approaching at high speed might have known that I wasn\'t controlling the vehicle at that moment, and their behavior might have been different.

 

Why Turquoise?

 

I believe this is the question everyone is asking. Fortunately, Mercedes-Benz has provided an answer. The German automaker based its choice of color on several criteria to assess what would be the ideal color for such technology. First, turquoise is a highly visible color that stands out easily from others. The manufacturer also conducted various studies, and turquoise proved to be the ideal color to represent autonomous vehicles.

 

Jean-Sébastien Poudrier