New assistance and safety systems: On the road to autonomous and accident-free driving
Mercedes-Benz is taking a further major step along the road to accident-free and autonomous driving: Drivers can expect to enjoy a new dimension of safety, comfort and stress relief in the future E-Class, which is being launched next spring. Numerous innovations in the new driver assistance package will enable semi-automated driving on freeways, highways and in city traffic, allow the car to be moved into and out of tight parking spaces from outside using a smartphone app, and facilitate autonomous braking to mitigate dangerous situations. Car-to-X Communication provides an early warning of dangers that lie ahead. Sophisticated radio technology turns the smartphone into a vehicle key. New PRE-SAFE® protective components can protect the occupants in a side impact and even prepare their ears for the loud noise of the accident. MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with high-resolution precision LED modules are exceptionally bright and automatically illuminate the road surface with precision-controlled light distribution – without blinding other road users.
Safety is a core element of the Mercedes-Benz brand, which has been setting the pace in the development of active and passive vehicle safety measures for almost 70 years, not only for the benefit of Mercedes drivers, but also for that of other road users. Mercedes-Benz consistently pursues this road. Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: “We are taking a further major step along the road to autonomous and connected driving. The innovations that will be available for the future E-Class taking safety, stress relief, and comfort to a new level. And as such further Mercedes-Benz is underlining its leading position as a safety pioneer”.
Highlights of the Driver Assistance Package that will make the future E-Class the most intelligent saloon in its class include:
- Intelligent Drive next Level: this system sees Mercedes-Benz taking the next step along the road to autonomous driving. On motorways and country roads, it is not only able to keep the car at a correct distance behind slower vehicles ahead automatically, it can also follow them in their lane at a speeds from 0 of up to 200 km/h. This can relieve the driver, who doesn't necessarily need to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving and also receives plenty of steering assistance – even in bends. At speeds up to 130 km/h, the system is not necessarily dependent on clearly visible lane markings as it can also intervene actively if the lines on the road are unclear, as is often the case at road works, or even if there are no lines on the road at all. The system therefore makes driving much easier, especially in traffic jams or heavy congestion. In combination with COMAND Online, the optional Speed Limit Pilot subfunction can autonomously adjust the vehicle's speed in response to camera-detected speed limits or speed limits logged in the navigation system, e.g. in Germany 50 km/h in towns or 100 km/h on country roads.
- Active Brake Assist: this system with enhanced functionality can warn the driver of imminent crash situations, provide just the right level of assistance in the event of sudden braking and also apply the brakes automatically in an emergency. In addition to detecting slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it also detects and reacts to crossing traffic at junctions, the tail ends of traffic jams and pedestrians in the danger zone ahead of the vehicle, for example.
- Evasive Steering Assist: this system is the ideal complement to the pedestrian detection function of Active Brake Assist. When the driver deliberately or instinctively performs an evasive manoeuvre in a dangerous situation, this function can assist by adding precisely calculated steering torque to support the movement of the steering wheel. This helps the driver to avoid the pedestrian in a controlled manner while subsequently facilitating the straightening of the vehicle in order to pass safely.
- Remote Parking Pilot: this system for the first time allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of parking spaces from outside using a smartphone app, allowing the occupants to get into and out of the car easily, even if space is very tight.
- Car-to-X Communication: in 2013, Mercedes-Benz was the first manufacturer to introduce widespread car-to-car networking in the form of a retrofit solution. Now comes the logical next step as the world's first fully integral Car-to-X solution goes into series production. The mobile phone-supported exchange of information with other vehicles further ahead on the road, for example, can effectively allow the driver to see around corners or through obstacles. This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as vehicle in an accident.
- Digital Car Key: this drive authorisation system uses Near Field Communication technology and allows the driver's smartphone to be used as a vehicle key.
- PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side: with this system, available to complement the driver assistance package, if an unavoidable side collision is detected, the air chambers in the backrest side bolsters inflate rapidly to preventively move the occupant sideways, away from the danger area. This increases the distance between occupant and door.
- PRE-SAFE® Sound: this system is a first in that it makes use of a natural reflex to protect the occupants' ears from the expected noise in the event of a possible collision.
- High-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, each with 84 individually activated high-performance LEDs, automatically illuminate the road surface with precision-controlled distribution of exceptionally bright light – without blinding other road users.
These new, intelligent assistance and safety systems see Mercedes-Benz taking another step closer to its goal of accident-free and autonomous driving.