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Well, that was fast: Mercedes pulls ad for Drive Pilot semi-autonomous system

YouTube copies of the ad were pulled shortly after safety advocates called it misleading.

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Drive Pilot, formerly known in the US as Distronic Plus with Steering Assist, made its debut in the 2017 E-Class.


People like to joke that business moves at a speed similar to plate tectonics, but some things are better done faster than slower. Case in point, one of Mercedes-Benz's advertisements for its Drive Pilot system. After complaints from consumer advocates, it promptly pulled its ad.

Yesterday, I reported that several consumer groups, including Consumer Reports and the Center for Automotive Safety, asked Mercedes to pull an ad for its semi-autonomous Drive Pilot system. By the time my story went live, Mercedes removed a copy of the ad from its YouTube page, and not even one full day later, it's pulled the ad from other mediums, as well, Automotive News reports.

Those groups called it misleading, as it may have overpromised Drive Pilot's level of autonomy, although fine print at the end of the ad tries to set the record straight on the system's level of intervention.

"Given the claim that consumers could confuse the autonomous driving capability of the F015 concept car with the driver assistance systems of our new E-Class in our ad 'The Future,' we have decided to take this one ad out of the E-Class campaign rotation," said Donna Boland, a spokeswoman for Mercedes-Benz. "The new 2017 E-Class is a technological tour-de-force and is a significant step towards achieving our vision of an accident free future. We do not want any potential confusion in the marketplace to detract from the giant step forward in vehicle safety the 2017 E-class represents."

Drive Pilot combines adaptive cruise control and active steering assist to create a system that will largely take care of itself within a single highway lane or in stop and go traffic. Drivers may be asked to intervene with little warning, which makes it nowhere near a self-driving car. It's similar to Tesla's Autopilot, which has also been under fire of late for potentially overstating its abilities. Several drivers have been involved in accidents where Autopilot was involved.