German luxury car maker, Mercedes-Benz has been at the forefront of new and innovative technology ever since the automobile was invented - after all, it was Karl Benz who created the first true automobile.
When it comes to safety features and driver assistance systems, Mercedes-Benz has always played a key role in developing new technology, and very soon their flagship model, the new S-Class, will boast some of this new technology that will bring the world closer to autonomous driving.
"The new S-Class raises Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level," says Dr Michael Hafner, Head of Automated Driving and Active Safety at Mercedes?Benz. "We are approaching the goal of automated driving more purposefully and faster than many people suspect. From the autumn, the new S?Class will be able to support its driver considerably better than all systems which have been available to date."
The launch of the new S-Class is still months away, but Mercedes-Benz has already issued a press release that suggests the new full-size luxury sedan will come with some serious tech. Some of these features include Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, Active Lane Change Assist, Active Speed Limit Assist and Active Emergency Stop Assist.
With Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC, the speed of the car is predictively reduced according to the route ahead. So if there are bends, junctions, roundabouts or toll booths, the car will slow down and then speed back up once clear. The car also uses navigation as a means of controlling speed so that the car decelerates when approaching the desired motorway exit or junction. The reduction in speed will vary depending on the selected transmission mode ECO, COMFORT or SPORT.
Active Lane Change Assist uses new radar and and navigation technology that will allow sensors to check whether the next lane is clear in front of, alongside and behind the vehicle, also taking into account the speed of any other vehicles. When the lane is clear, the driver is supported in changing lanes. This will also be indicated in the instrument cluster and on the head-up display.
Active Speed Limit Assist is an engageable subfunction of Traffic Sign Assist, which is able to recognise signs, known speed limits and road works signs With the help of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC the system adapts the vehicle's speed to the recognised speed limits automatically.
There have been many cases where drivers have been incapacitated or have lost consiousness while driving for a number of reasons. With Active Emergency Stop Assist, the car will be able to detect if the driver is no longer actively driving the vehicle while it is on the move with Active Steering Assist switched on. If there is no steering wheel movement or response from the driver for over a predefined period, the system gives the driver a visual and audible prompt or warning. If the driver fails to respond the car will slow down in the identified lane until it comes to a standstill. Other vehicles will be warned by means of hazard warning lamps. When the vehicle comes to a standstill, the parking brake is engaged automatically and the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated. The vehicle will also be unlocked, to allow first aiders access to the driver.
Along with these systems the new S-Class will also get Active Brake Assist, Evasive Steering Assist, Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist. It will also get Active Parking assist and Remote Parking Assist.