Mercedes Gets Green Light on Turquoise Lights for Automated Driving

Kyle Patrick
by Kyle Patrick
mercedes gets green light on turquoise lights for automated driving

There's a new exterior light color in town—well, in California and Nevada, anyway.

Mercedes-Benz on Tuesday announced it is the first manufacturer in the US to be approved to use a different marker light color. The cool, turquoise glow will indicate the brand's SAE Level 3 automated driving system is active.

The German brand's Drive Pilot suite recently gained the first US certification for consumer use, and will begin showing up on 2024 EQS and S-Class sedans—also in California and Nevada. The Level 3 system offers hands-off operation up to 40 mph (64 km/h), with fail-safes in place and the understanding that the driver still must be available to take over at any time.

mercedes gets green light on turquoise lights for automated driving

Turquoise lighting will begin to roll out in California, with markers in the headlights and taillights, along with the side mirrors. The state has given an exemption permit to Mercedes to test the turquoise lights for two years. Meanwhile Nevada has moved right on to production model approval, starting with 2026 models.

The cool hue is not new: as far back as 2018, Mercedes presented the Co-Operative Car Concept. The point there was to ease how pedestrians and other drivers respond to autonomous cars. There's a more practical reason as well: the SAE recommends turqoise lighting for ADAS marking lights, and they provide a useful contrast from all existing colors of day-to-day driving such as traffic lights and emergency vehicles.

mercedes gets green light on turquoise lights for automated driving

How the turquoise lights will impact the aftermarket will be interesting. Colored head- and taillights are illegal in most areas, but a quick browse of Amazon shows plenty of them available for purchase anyway. It will only be a matter of time before some enterprising person tries to blame their erratic driving on the non-existent Level 3 system in their clapped-out, 20-year-old Civic.

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Kyle Patrick
Kyle Patrick

Kyle began his automotive obsession before he even started school, courtesy of a remote control Porsche and various LEGO sets. He later studied advertising and graphic design at Humber College, which led him to writing about cars (both real and digital). He is now a proud member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), where he was the Journalist of the Year runner-up for 2021.

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