Driving assistance systems: Connected with all senses

Like the S-Class Saloon, the new Coupé is available with numerous new assistance systems that make driving even more comfortable and safer. Standard equipment includes COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS with adaptive Brake Assist and an additional autonomous braking function. The optional Driving Assistance package Plus available as an option in conjunction with the 360° camera features DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot, PRE-SAFE® Brake, BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, Active Blind Spot Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and PRE-SAFE® PLUS. PRE-SAFE® PLUS can recognise an imminent rear-end collision and warn following traffic by activating the rear hazard warning lights at a high frequency. Night View Assist Plus with early detection of people and large animals in the dark, including Spotlight function, is also optionally available.
The Stereo Multi Purpose Camera (SMPC), or stereo camera for short, is positioned behind the windscreen in the vicinity of the rear-view mirror. It has an aperture angle of 45° and is capable of detecting the position and movement of objects, especially vehicles and pedestrians, in three dimensions. Thanks to two "camera eyes" it is able to register spatially an area of up to around 50 metres in front of the vehicle, and monitors the surroundings ahead of the vehicle to a distance of up to 500 metres.
In this way, the camera supplies data that is processed further by various systems. Intelligent algorithms evaluate this information in order to detect and carry out spatial classification of vehicles that are driving ahead, oncoming or crossing, as well as pedestrians and a variety of traffic signs and road markings within a large field of vision.
Whereas the stereo camera's lenses act as the car's eyes, the radar sensors are its ears, so to speak, and provide additional data about the distance from objects. In models with the Driving Assistance package Plus, the system of radar sensors comprises two short-range radar sensors in the front bumper plus one sensor in each side of the rear bumper with a range of 30 m and a beam angle of 80°. It is complemented by a long-range radar (200 m, 18°) including medium-range detection (60 m, 60°) at the front and a multi-mode radar (80 m, 16° und 30 m, 80°) in the middle of the rear bumper, which is fitted as a single sensor in the front bumper of the standard vehicle for COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. The data from the camera and radars are amalgamated in a control unit in order to provide the system-specific data for the various functions.
Now with autonomous braking:COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS
COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS features distance and collision warning functions with adaptive Brake Assist, offering protection against collisions from just 7 km/h, plus an additional function: when a danger of collision persists and the driver fails to respond, the system is able to carry out autonomous braking at speeds of up to more than 100 km/h, thereby reducing the severity of collisions with slower or stopping vehicles.
At speeds of up to around 50 km/h the system also brakes in response to stationary vehicles, and is able to prevent rear-end collisions at up to around 40 km/h.
Comfort-enhancing assistance with lateral lane guidance:DISTRONIC PLUS with Steer Assist and Stop&Go Pilot
DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control helps the driver to keep the vehicle at the desired distance from another vehicle in front that is travelling slower than the selected cruising speed. This radar-based basic function additionally incorporates Steer Assist with Stop&Go Pilot, which assists the driver with lateral guidance of the vehicle. The system helps the driver to keep the vehicle in the middle of its lane by generating a steering torque when driving in a straight line or even on slight bends.
The stereo camera recognises lane markings as well as vehicles driving ahead together with their spatial positioning, and relays this information to the electric steering assistance system. By generating the appropriate steering torque, the system can enhance ride comfort in the speed range up to 200 km/h and greatly assist the driver in many traffic situations. At speeds up to 60 km/h, the Stop&Go Pilot 'intelligently' decides whether to use the vehicle in front or the road markings as a means of orientation, enabling semi-autonomous tailback tracking even when there are no clear lane markings visible. The system fuses the data gleaned from the stereo camera and the radar sensors, calculates any reactions required, and then regulates the vehicle's linear speed as requirements dictate by controlling engine power, transmission and brakes, as well as actuating the electric steering for lateral vehicle guidance.
DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist can be activated with a stalk on the steering column in a speed range from 0-200 km/h, even with the vehicle standing still and no vehicle moving ahead of it. Any speed between 30 km/h and 200 km/h can be selected as the desired cruising speed. The driver starts off in this case by pulling the DISTRONIC PLUS stalk or tapping the accelerator.
A green steering wheel symbol appears in the instrument cluster to indicate when Steering Assist is operating while DISTRONIC PLUS is activated. Meanwhile, linear controlling actions (cruise control function) are visualised in the speed display by means of circular segments and the speedometer needle.
The system's design is so refined that the sensors can detect whether the driver's hands are on the steering wheel. If the system recognises that the driver has taken his/her hands off the steering wheel while the car is moving, depending on the situation, the detected surroundings and the speed, a visual warning is first issued in the instrument cluster; then a warning signal sounds and Steer Assist is deactivated. This is additionally indicated by changing the steering wheel symbol from green to white. Linear control remains unaffected by this and continues to be available. This means that the system has an intelligent hands-off detection feature that brings the driver's hands back to the wheel when necessary. Thus Mercedes-Benz offers relaxed driving mainly over long distances and on motorways, especially during otherwise tiring and annoying (slow) tailback driving.
By combining the radar and camera data, DISTRONIC PLUS is also able to detect both vehicles cutting in and vehicles ahead, and vehicles ahead of them, in one's own lane and in adjacent lanes, and take any necessary action promptly. This can prevent, for example, illegal overtaking on the inside lane on motorways and similar multi-lane highways by adapting the speed to that of vehicles in the outside lanes (at speeds above 85 km/h), especially when a tailback begins to dissolve and in streams of traffic. At lower speeds, permissible overtaking on the inside lane with a maximum speed differential of 20 km/h is possible.
It goes without saying that drivers can always override DISTRONIC PLUS with Steer Assist. For instance if they signal with their indicators that they wish to change lanes, the lateral assistance remains passive for as long as it takes to change lanes.
Braking assistance also for crossing traffic:BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist
Apart from material damage, accidents at junctions often result in serious personal injuries. The Brake Assist BAS PLUS from Mercedes-Benz is therefore capable of more than just helping the driver to avoid collisions with vehicles ahead or lessen their consequences in a purely linear direction: the Cross‑Traffic Assist function can also come to the driver's aid in critical situations with cross-traffic at junctions.
If this anticipatory system detects a hazardous situation of this type, it prompts the driver to start emergency braking by issuing visual and acoustic warnings. If the driver presses the brake pedal too tentatively, BAS PLUS will step in by automatically boosting brake pressure for effective emergency braking, even applying the brakes at full power if necessary. Applying just the right amount of braking power for the situation at hand maximises the available braking distance for traffic behind.
The Cross-Traffic Assist function is operative at speeds up to approx. 70 km/h. BAS PLUS is able to aid the driver in linear situations at any speed.
Detects broken lines too: Active Lane Keeping Assist
The basic Active Lane Keeping Assist function warns against unintentional drifting across a lane through vibrations of the steering wheel; and if the vehicle actually crosses a lane marking, corrects the vehicle's position through unilateral brake application. In the extended version available in the new S‑Class Coupé, the system is also able to intervene should the driver inadvertently cross a broken line when the neighbouring lane is not clear, meaning that a lane-change could result in the risk of a collision. The system can determine if this is the case using the information from the stereo camera and the radar system.
Active Lane Keeping Assist is not only capable of recognising critical situations such as overtaking vehicles, vehicles to be overtaken and parallel traffic, it can also respond effectively to oncoming traffic. If the system detects that the vehicle is crossing the lane markings when the adjacent lane is not clear, not only does it cause the steering wheel to vibrate in pulses as a tactile warning for the driver, it guides the vehicle back into lane by applying a corrective braking force on one side via ESP®, even when the vehicle crosses broken lines. It thereby complements Active Blind Spot Assist and also enables collisions with oncoming traffic, which can often have far-reaching consequences, to be avoided.
Active Lane Keeping Assist is active at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h. If driver activity in the form of e.g. active steering, braking or acceleration is detected or when the indicators are switched on, both the warning and the corrective brake actuation are suppressed. Using the instrument cluster the system can be set for two levels – Standard or Adaptive.
Making light of strong gusts: Crosswind Assist
The new S-Class Coupé features Crosswind Assist as standard. This system helps the driver as it can substantially reduce the effect strong crosswinds have on the vehicle's straight-line stability. In this situation, the lane drift and the steering effort required on the part of the driver are reduced substantially. Crosswind Assist is active at speeds of 80 km/ h and above when driving straight ahead or on slight bends.
The existing ESP® sensors are used to detect the crosswind effects. Additional information is provided by the EPS (Electric Power Steering) steering angles and the shock courses of the AIRMATIC or ABC (Active Body Control) springs in the S-Class Coupé.
In vehicles equipped with ABC (Active Body Control) suspension, crosswind stabilisation is effected by targeted wheel load changes resulting from adjustment of the ABC dampers. The vehicle yaw resulting from the change in the wheel load helps the driver to correct the steering movement caused by the wind. In vehicles not equipped with ABC, the crosswind effects are compensated for by a one-sided brake intervention of the kind initiated by Active Lane Keeping Assist/Blind Spot Assist.
Also identifies no-overtaking zones and no-entry signs:Traffic Sign Assist with wrong-way warning function
Traffic Sign Assist builds on the capabilities of the previous Speed Limit Assist system. The system now also detects no-overtaking signs and can warn the driver if it detects no-entry signs.
The camera on the inside of the windscreen continues to pick up speed limit signs, including those on overhead gantries and at roadworks, for example. The camera's data is cross-referenced against the information in the navigation system and can be displayed in both the instrument cluster and the map display. If the camera fails to spot any road signs showing a speed limit or a speed limit is lifted, the legal speed limits based on the navigation data are shown instead.
No-overtaking zones and the signs cancelling them are also registered and displayed. In the case of signs imposing access restrictions, the wrong-way driver warning function issues an acoustic warning together with a visual warning in the instrument cluster – making an effective contribution towards the prevention of serious accidents caused by wrong-way drivers.
Visualising drowsiness: ATTENTION ASSIST
A quarter of all motorway accidents in Germany are put down to drowsiness, making it one of the most frequent causes of accidents, most of which are of a serious nature. In 2009, Mercedes-Benz presented ATTENTION ASSIST, which is able to detect tell-tale signs of inattentiveness and increasing drowsiness based on changes in steering behaviour and a host of other factors.
The system has been subject to ongoing development, and the latest version has the ability to detect drowsiness and inattentiveness across a far greater speed range from 60-200 km/h. Furthermore, the system's sensitivity can be adjusted, for example for drivers who already feel tired when they get behind the wheel.
A new menu in the instrument cluster display also makes the system more tangible and transparent for the driver by visualising the current attention level and the driving time since the last break. What's more, it is also possible to see whether the system is active in the current driving situation. If the usual ATTENTION ASSIST warning recommending the driver to take a break is issued, nearby service areas can be indicated in the navigation system when driving on motorways or main roads.
The system can be deactivated by making the appropriate selection in the instrument cluster menu. However, it will always be automatically reactivated with the sensitivity setting last selected the next time the vehicle is started.
Automatic manoeuvring into and out of parallel and end-on parking spaces: Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC
Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC allows automated parking with active steering and brake control in both parallel and end-on spaces. What's more, the system is also able to manoeuvre the vehicle out of parallel parking spaces all by itself with automatic steering and brake control, assuming the vehicle was parked there automatically previously.
When travelling at speeds below 30 km/h, ultrasound sensors with an extended range in the bumpers' side sections survey the right side of the road for suitable parallel and end-on parking spaces. The same procedure is carried out for the left side of the road if the driver activates the left turn indicator. A symbol in the instrument cluster shows that the system is in the process of measuring. If a suitable parking spot is identified, an arrow appears alongside the symbol indicating that the system is ready for automatic parking. All the driver now has to do to activate the system is engage reverse gear and confirm by pressing the OK button on the steering wheel.
Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC steers and brakes the vehicle automatically as well as indicating the required driver actions in the display each time, such as the gear to be selected. The driver moves the vehicle by lightly pressing the accelerator or releasing the brake.
Able to detect impending rear impacts: PRE-SAFE® PLUS
PRE-SAFE® PLUS is an extension of the familiar occupant protection measures when dangers are posed by following traffic. The multi-mode radar sensor in the rear bumper monitors the traffic behind the vehicle. If an impending rear-end collision is recognised, the driver of the vehicle following behind is warned by high-frequency (5 Hz) flashing of the rear hazard warning lamps (not for vehicles with country code USA/Canada). When the car is at a standstill and the driver indicates a wish to remain stationary (for example by keeping the brake pedal depressed, activating the HOLD function or engaging transmission position "P"), PRE-SAFE® PLUS provides support if the collision danger persists by increasing the brake pressure. The vehicle's brakes are "locked". Immediately before impact, the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection measures, especially the reversible belt tensioners, are also deployed.
Keeping the vehicle firmly braked when another vehicle hits it from behind greatly reduces the risks to the occupants, such as that of whiplash injuries. At the same time, it serves to protect other road users by restricting uncontrolled vehicle movements after the initial impact that could lead to secondary collisions, such as being shunted into a vehicle in front or colliding with pedestrians or other road users at junctions.

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