Glossary: Terms and innovations from A to Z

May 15, 2013
ACTIVE BODY CONTROL (ABC): subfunction of the suspension system MAGIC BODY CONTROL. The Mercedes-Benz ABC suspension has four suspension struts with hydraulic cylinders to set the force individually in each suspension strut, thus all but completely eliminating the lifting, rolling and pitching motion of the vehicle body. Various acceleration sensors send information about the current driving situation to the control unit which, in turn, compares this information with the data received from the pressure sensors in the suspension struts and the level sensors on the axle links. Based on the results of this comparison, the system calculates control signals which are then converted into precisely measured oil flows by servohydraulic values at the front and rear axle.
Active Blind Spot Assist: this radar-based system alerts the driver if it detects another vehicle in the blind spot when changing lanes. If the driver ignores the system's warnings and comes dangerously close to the vehicle in the adjacent lane, Active Blind Spot Assist intervenes by applying the brakes at the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle so as to create a yawing movement that can avert a collision.
Active Lane Keeping Assist: intervention to correct unintentional lane changes even with a broken line. The new improved version of the Active Lane Keeping Assist is now also able to intervene should the driver inadvertently cross a broken line when there is a risk of a collision. The system uses the information from the radar system to detect when the adjacent lane is not clear. The radar system has been supplemented by a sensor at the rear, which works in unison with the other sensors in the front and rear bumpers. The Active Lane Keeping Assist is not only capable of recognising critical situations such as overtaking vehicles, parallel traffic and parking vehicles, it can also respond effectively to oncoming traffic. If the system detects the risk of a collision, not only does it cause the steering wheel to vibrate in pulses as a tactile warning for the driver, it intervenes with a lane-correcting brake application on one side via the ESP®. It thereby forms the ideal complement to the Active Blind Spot Assist.
Active multicontour seats: these multicontour seats with a dynamic function continuously adapt to the driving situation. Depending on the steering angle, lateral acceleration and road speed, the air cushions in the side bolsters are pneumatically inflated to ensure maximum lateral support even when the style of driving is extremely dynamic.
Active Parking Assist: automatic manoeuvring into and out of parallel and end-on parking spaces. The Active Parking Assist is designed for automated parking with active steering and brake control in both parallel and end-on spaces. The driver moves the vehicle by manually pressing the accelerator or releasing the brake. What's more, the system is now also able to manoeuvre out of parallel parking spaces again all by itself with automatic steering and brake control, assuming the vehicle was parked there automatically previously.
Adaptive Damping System Plus (ADS PLUS): fully automatic, electronically controlled system that adjusts the damping at each wheel to meet current requirements. Fitted as standard.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus: if the camera-based Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus picks up oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead, it adapts the light distribution according to the specific situation when the main beam is on. A mechanism in the headlamp module masks the portion of the LED headlamps' cone of light where there are other vehicles to prevent their drivers being dazzled. Possible backglare caused by increased use of the main beam and highly reflective signs at the side of the road is also detected and eliminated by dimming the headlamps accordingly. Consequently, the driver can simply leave the main-beam headlamps on at all times and use their full range without irritating or even endangering other road users. The system is active at speeds above 30 km/h when travelling on roads without street lighting in the dark.
AIR-BALANCE package: with improved filtration, perfume atomisation and ionisation, this optional extra fulfils three functions at once. With the help of a fine-particle activated charcoal filter integrated into the air conditioner housing, the air is filtered even more efficiently than in the standard model. The customer is able to perfume and individualise the interior with a high-quality fragrance. An ioniser is used to ionise the air for a cleaner, fresher atmosphere.
AIRMATIC: full air suspension system specified as standard for the S-Class. Continuous adjustment of the level allows the spring travel to be maintained whatever the vehicle load. The vehicle level is also controlled automatically depending on the vehicle speed. It is lowered by up to 20 millimetres when the speed exceeds 120 km/h, thus reducing aerodynamic drag and improving driving stability thanks to the vehicle's low centre of gravity.
BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist: for the first time, the Brake Assist system BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist can help to avoid not just rear-end collisions with vehicles directly in front, but also imminent crashes with cross traffic at junctions. If the anticipatory system detects a hazardous situation of this type based on the amalgamated data from the brand new stereo camera and the radar sensor system, it prompts the driver to start emergency braking by activating visual and acoustic warnings. If the driver presses the brake pedal too tentatively, as is often the case, BAS PLUS will step in by automatically boosting brake pressure for effective emergency braking, even applying the brakes at full power if necessary. The system is active at speeds up to 72 km/h.
BAS PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Brake: the BAS PLUS and PRE-SAFE® Brake functions have been supplemented by pedestrian detection. In addition to this, autonomous braking as a result of vehicles in front has undergone a major enhancement. By "fusing together" the data from the stereo camera and radar sensors, it is now possible to detect pedestrians in front of the vehicle. Visual and acoustic warnings are given when a hazard is spotted. If the driver then reacts by braking, the braking power will be boosted by BAS PLUS as the situation requires, right up to full brake application. Should the driver fail to react, the PRE-SAFE® Brake will trigger autonomous vehicle braking. The PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection is active up to 72 km/h, and is able to prevent accidents with pedestrians at speeds up to 50 km/h. The operating range of the autonomous braking function for stationary vehicles has been optimised so that rear-end collisions can likewise now be avoided at speeds of up to 50 km/h.
Beltbag: This inflatable seat belt strap can lower the risk of injury to rear passengers during a frontal impact by reducing the loads acting on the ribcage. Should the crash sensors detect a severe frontal impact, the airbag control unit will trigger deployment and inflation of the beltbag. A gas generator then inflates the multi-layered belt strap with Velcro seams to nearly three times its normal width. The resulting larger surface area is able to better distribute the force acting on the seat occupant, thereby reducing the risk of injury.
Climatised seats: together with the perforated leather, four fans in the seat cushion and two fans in the backrest ensure uniform relative air humidity where the occupant's body meets the seat. For the first time, so-called reversing fans are used in the climatised seats. Here the rotational direction of the fan, and therefore the airflow within the seat structure, can be reversed. This enables the surface temperature of a heated-up seat to be reduced much faster.
COMAND Online: this brings the internet into the car. The following functions are supported: WLAN HotSpot integrated into the head unit as standard, unrestricted browsing on the internet, read/write SMS/email, Mercedes-Benz services. Internet radio, Live Traffic Information
Crosswind Assist: helps the driver as it can substantially reduce the effect strong crosswinds have on the vehicle's straight-line stability.
Cushionbag: this airbag is located under the seat cushion upholstery, but on top of the plastic seat shell. When the seat is reclined, it prevents the occupant from sliding beneath the seat belt (so-called submarining) in an accident, as it raises the front section of the seat cushion upholstery.
Data fusion: highly sophisticated sensors and the necessary networked algorithms provide the foundation for innovative new functions. Data fusion enables the algorithms for the varying systems to amalgamate the visual information from the stereo camera with the readings from the radar sensors. Many of the assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz work in this way, fusing multiple or complementary data sources to ensure more reliable operation.
DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot: the DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control is a driver aid designed to keep the vehicle at the desired distance from another vehicle in front, even in stop & go traffic. This basic radar-based function has now been enhanced by the addition of Stop&Go Pilot, which helps drivers to stay centred in their lane by generating the appropriate steering torque when travelling on a straight road and even in gentle bends. The stereo camera recognises lane markings as well as a vehicle driving ahead, and relays this information to the electric steering assistance system. When driving at slow speeds, e.g. in congested traffic, the Stop&Go Pilot can use the vehicle ahead as a means of orientation, even when there are no clear lane markings visible. The system's design is so refined that the sensors can detect whether the driver's hands are actually on the steering wheel. If they are not, a visual warning is issued first. Should the driver fail to react, a warning signal sounds and lateral lane guidance is deactivated. The system can be activated at speeds up to 200 km/h. A green steering wheel symbol appears in the instrument cluster to indicate when the Stop&Go Pilot is operating while DISTRONIC PLUS is activated.
Double cupholder: the use of Peltier technology enables drinks to be warmed or cooled over a longer period. The thermo-cupholders are integrated into the Business centre console in the rear.
Electromechanical Direct-Steer system: this combines speed-sensitive power assistance with a variable ratio across the steering angle range. The power steering assistance provided by the rack and pinion steering gear is controlled on-demand and therefore contributes towards efficiency.
ENERGIZING massage function: Working together with physiotherapists and psychologists, the seat specialists at Mercedes-Benz have developed a unique massage function on the hot-stone principle. This is based on 14 separately actuated air cushions in the backrest, as well as an integrated warming function. There is a choice of six massage programmes, two of them using the warming function.
Energy-transparent vehicle: method developed by Mercedes-Benz to detect the possibilities for efficiency optimisation in even the most minute component. An exact and meticulous examination of the flow of energy throughout the vehicle (tank to wheel) helps the development engineers to optimise every single assembly that has an impact on fuel consumption, right down to individual wheel bearings.
Executive seat: electrically adjustable rear seat with a backrest angle of 19 to 43.5 degrees on the front passenger side, available as an optional extra for the long-wheelbase version. Even in the reclined position, the cushionbag prevents the occupant from sliding under the seat belt in an accident.
FLEXRAY data bus: serial communication technology in the car with extremely high data transfer rate, used with ROAD SURFACE SCAN.
Frontbass system: this is the first time that Mercedes-Benz has used this system in a saloon car. The woofers are installed in the firewall, and use the almost 40-litre space in the cross-members and side members as a resonance chamber.
Hot-stone principle: a massage technique traditionally widespread throughout the world which has been developed further in recent years to enhance relaxation and the sense of wellbeing. The spine is covered with stones heated to up to 55 degrees C and massaged.
Individual Entertainment System in the rear: the new S-Class is the first vehicle worldwide to offer a genuine multi-user system for entertainment functions. This means that there is independent access to the media sources of the entertainment system from any of the four seats – i.e. radio, TV, internet, navigation, DVD player and USB-connected devices. Realised with the help of a MOST bus system.
Infrared headlamps: two separate light sources in the headlamp assemblies light up the road ahead with invisible infrared light. Used for the Night View Assist Plus.
Lightweight index: this index defines the torsional stiffness in relation to the vehicle's size (footprint) and weight. To this end, all the relevant node areas have been optimised and systematically reinforced with respect to force distribution.
Live Traffic Information: internet-based traffic information in real time.
Long-range infrared camera: detects relevant objects (pedestrians and animals such as deer, horses, cattle) at a distance of up to 160 m as a thermal image, enabling it to control the warning function. Used for the Night View Assist Plus.
Luxury seats: electrically adjustable rear seats with a backrest angle of 19 to 37 degrees, available as an optional extra.
MAGIC BODY CONTROL: innovative suspension system available as an option for the eight-cylinder models, featuring the ACTIVE BODY CONTROL and ROAD SURFACE SCAN subfunctions.
MAGIC VISION CONTROL: although not visible as a spray jet, this adaptive screen washing system uses conventional washer fluid to ensure a clear view. The innovation lies in the way the fluid is conducted to the windscreen in order to clean it. This is done by means of water guides integrated on both sides along the wiper blade – one on the left and one on the right – with minute laser-cut spraying holes. Via these channels, the innovative system always supplies washing fluid to the windscreen discreetly, precisely where it is needed: just in front of the wiper blade lip, according to the direction of movement of the wiper.
Mercedes-Benz emergency call system: in combination with COMAND Online the new S-Class features the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system. When COMAND Online is connected to a mobile phone and an accident occurs, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system automatically alerts an emergency call centre within minutes. After airbag or belt tensioner activation, the precise GPS position of the vehicle and its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) are sent to a special emergency call centre by SMS, the location data being sent in parallel using the DTMF (dual tone multifrequency) process.
MOST bus system: the Individual Entertainment System in the rear is connected via a fibre-optic cable, a so-called MOST bus system (Media Oriented Systems Transport). Access to the sources from any seat is possible via the MOST ring, which operates at a transfer rate of up to 150 Mbit per second.
Multicontour seats: these relieve strain on the spine and can be precisely adjusted to suit the ergonomics of the driver and passengers. To this end the pressure of the variable air chambers in the backrest side bolsters and for the backrest contour in the lumbar area can be predefined.
Multi-level functionality: dazzle protection for following traffic. The brake lights and indicators are operated at varying intensities depending on the current driving state and ambient brightness levels (day/night).
Night View Assist Plus: alerting to pedestrians and animals. The new Night View Assist Plus system is capable of detecting pedestrians and animals in potentially hazardous positions in front of the vehicle. In particularly relevant situations (in darkness, in unlit surroundings at speeds over 60 km/h) it automatically switches the instrument cluster display from the speedometer to a crystal-sharp night view image to alert the driver. Any pedestrians or animals detected ahead are clearly highlighted in colour in this image. The spotlight function is additionally used to repeatedly flash pedestrians in the warning zone in these situations by means of a special module in the front headlamps. This attracts the driver's attention to the source of the danger at the same time as warning the person on the side of the road. Animals purposely are not flashed since their reaction to light is unpredictable. These functions are now available in urban areas, too. Infrared headlamps, a long-range infrared camera, a short-range infrared camera and a spotlight function are used to provide the various functions.
PRE-SAFE® Impulse: at an early phase of the crash, before the resulting deceleration starts to increase, the front occupants are pulled against the direction of impact and pulled deeper into their seats by their seat belts. By the time the accident enters the phase when loads peak, the extra distance they are retracted by can be used while dissipating energy in a controlled fashion. Pre-acceleration and force limitation allow the occupants to be temporarily isolated from the effects of the crash, significantly reducing the risk and severity of injuries in a frontal collision. With PRE-SAFE® Impulse, the seat belt can be retracted by pyrotechnic means at all three belt anchorage points, and released again with controlled force. The fundamental difference compared with conventional belt tensioners is that the force for retracting the belt strap is maintained for a much longer time. The deployment logic fires the seat belt system's belt tensioners progressively depending on the seriousness of the accident. In this way, the tensioning force can be adapted as required.
PRE-SAFE® PLUS: occupant protection for an imminent impact from the rear. PRE-SAFE® PLUS offers an extension of the familiar occupant protection measures in situations where traffic behind poses a danger. A radar sensor in the rear bumper monitors the traffic behind the vehicle and can detect the risk of a rear-end collision. The system warns the driver of the vehicle behind by activating the rear hazard warning lights at a higher frequency than normal. If the vehicle is stationary, if the danger of a collision persists PRE-SAFE® PLUS will keep it firmly braked. Minimising the forward jolt in this way can greatly reduce the strain placed on the occupants, such as the risk of whiplash injuries. Firmly applying the vehicle's brakes can help to prevent secondary accidents too, such as running into a vehicle in front, for example, or colliding with pedestrians or other road users at junctions. Immediately before impact, the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection measures, including the reversible belt tensioners, are deployed.
PRE-SAFE® Rear package: activates occupant protection measures in hazardous situations. These include tensioning the seat belts and raising the luxury and Executive seats to the upright position, as well as closing the windows and sliding sunroof. In conjunction with PRE-SAFE® PLUS, also activation of occupant protection when a rear-end collision threatens.
Radar: sensor technology for picking up relevant obstacles. New improved versions of the short-range and long-range radars combine with a new multi-mode radar to detect relevant obstacles such as vehicles or people in defined areas in front of, next to and, now, behind the vehicle, too. The system employs 2 x short-range radars at the front (range 30 m, detection angle 80°), 1 x long-range radar at the front (200 m, 18°) with medium-range detection (60 m, 60°), 2 x short-range radars on the sides at the rear (30 m, 80°) and 1 x multi-mode radar at the rear (30 m, 80° and 80 m, 16°). The algorithms for the varying systems amalgamate (data fusion) the radar readings with the visual information from the stereo camera. Many of the assistance systems from Mercedes-Benz work in this way, fusing multiple data sources to ensure more reliable operation.
Rear seat safety: Mercedes-Benz sets new standards with special safety measures for passengers in the rear. This includes seat belt buckle extender, beltbag and cushionbag. See also PRE-SAFE® rear package.
ROAD SURFACE SCAN: subfunction of the suspension system MAGIC BODY CONTROL making the S-Class the world's first car able to detect bumps on the road ahead. The "eyes" for the ROAD SURFACE SCAN function are provided by a stereo camera fitted behind the windscreen, which scans the road up to 15 metres ahead of the vehicle and delivers a precise image of the road contours. Based on the camera pictures and driving status information, the control unit constantly calculates the best control strategy for overcoming unevenness such as prolonged bumps.
Seat belt buckle extender: an electric motor extends and retracts the belt buckle automatically. In this way, any belt slack in the area of the pelvis and thorax can be reduced so that passengers are secured more firmly in both sideways and lengthways direction. Fastening seat belts in the rear has also been made simpler: the seat belt buckle emerges when the rear doors are opened, and is provided with an illuminated insertion slot.
Short-range infrared camera: shows in conjunction with the infrared headlamps a sharp greyscale image of the area in front of the vehicle in the instrument cluster display. Used for the Night View Assist Plus.
SPLITVIEW: the driver and front passenger are able to see different content on the central display at the same time. The Comand Online system forms a mixed image from two separate display images (e.g. TV and navigation). This is then separated in the high-resolution central display by means of prisms, enabling different screen content to be shown for the driver and front passenger depending on the viewing angle.
Spotlight function in the front headlamps: in particularly relevant situations (darkness, unlit road, speed over 60 km/h) flashes any pedestrians detected with the help of the controllable light module. Used for Night View Assist Plus.
Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera (SMPC or stereo camera for short): just like the Multi-Purpose Camera (MPC) fitted previously, the stereo camera is positioned behind the windscreen in the vicinity of the rear-view mirror. However, the camera features two "eyes" that produce a 3D view of the area up to around 50 metres in front of the vehicle while monitoring the overall situation ahead for a range of up to 500 metres. In this way, the camera is able to provide data for processing by various systems. Intelligent algorithms perform a visual evaluation of this three-dimensional information in "6D-Vision" (detection of position and movement of relevant objects in three dimensions in each case) in order to detect and carry out spatial classification of both 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. Used for example for BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist and DISTRONIC PLUS with Stop&Go Pilot.
Stop&Go Pilot: supports the driver in stop-and-go traffic with steering intervention. Subfunction of DISTRONIC PLUS.
Traffic Sign Assist with wrong-way driver warning function: a new Traffic Sign Assist, which builds on the capabilities of the previous Speed Limit Assist, represents yet another contribution to accident prevention from Mercedes-Benz. The system is now also able to recognise many supplemental signs, but also no-overtaking zones and the lifting of these zones, and can even alert drivers to access restrictions. The camera on the inside of the windscreen continues to pick up speed limit signs, including those on overhead gantries and in 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 view. 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, such as a maximum speed of 100 km/h on country roads in Germany or 50 km/h in built-up areas. Supplemental signs are also recognised and displayed according to situation (e.g. "in the wet"). No-overtaking zones and the signs signalling their end are also registered and displayed, while in the case of signs imposing access restrictions, through the wrong-way driver warning function an acoustic warning is additionally emitted together with a visual warning in the instrument cluster.