Intelligent Drive: Next-generation driving assistance systems

Mar 10, 2017

Mercedes-Benz's highly advanced assistance and safety systems enhance safety, comfort and driver relief to new levels.

Active Brake Assist is fitted as standard. It is able to warn the driver of an imminent collision, provide optimum support with emergency braking and, if necessary, also autonomously apply the brakes. In addition to slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it can also detect pedestrians crossing in the danger zone ahead of the vehicle. Likewise included as standard are ATTENTION ASSIST with adjustable sensitivity, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness, and Crosswind Assist, which can assist the driver by substantially reducing the effects of strong crosswinds to prevent the vehicle from drifting too far off track.

The highlights of the optional Driving Assistance Package include the following:

The Distance Pilot DISTRONIC with Steering Pilot, it is not only able to keep the car at the correct distance behind vehicles in front on all types of road, but, for the first time, it can also automatically follow them at a speed of up to 210 km/h. This can make life easier for the driver, who no longer needs to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving, and also receives plenty of steering assistance from the Steering Pilot – even on moderate speeds up to 130 km/h, as if in a swarm, the system can continue to actively help with the steering by taking account of surrounding vehicles and parallel structures, even if the lane markings are unclear or non-existent, road works. The system therefore makes driving much easier, especially in traffic jams or heavy congestion. The extended restarting function greatly reduces driver stress, as it allows automatic moving-off within 30 seconds after stopping on motorways or major highways, thanks to DISTRONIC distance control. As the latest generation of the front radar is heated, this additionally increases the availability of DISTRONIC distance control, especially in wintry conditions.

Further innovation designed to relieve stress: in combination with COMAND Online, the selectable subfunction Speed Limit Pilot can autonomously adjust the vehicle's speed via DISTRONIC distance control in response to camera-detected speed limits, including gantries and signs at roadworks, or speed limits logged in the navigation system, e.g. 50 km/h in built-up areas or 100 km/h on country roads.

The impressive innovations amongst the assistance systems include Active Lane Change Assist. This radar and camera-based assistance system assists the driver when changing lanes on multi-lane roads, and can steer the vehicle into the lane selected by the driver – when overtaking, for example. Once the driver has activated the indicators for at least two seconds, Active Lane Change Assist helps the driver to steer into the adjacent lane if it detects that the lane is unoccupied.

Active Emergency Stop Assist can brake the vehicle to a standstill in its lane if it detects that the driver is permanently not taking control while on the move. If there is no steering wheel movement over a longer period when the Steering Pilot is activated, the system gives the driver a visual and audible prompt to place his/her hands on the wheel. If, after being repeatedly warned, the driver fails to react by steering, accelerating, braking or pressing a touch control button, the vehicle safely decelerates to a standstill in its lane and warns the traffic behind using the hazard warning flashers.          

Active Brake Assist with cross-traffic function: compared with the standard version, it offers extended speed thresholds with regard to vehicles and pedestrians. It is also able to recognise crossing traffic moving at a maximum of half the car's own speed on junctions, and brake autonomously if the driver fails to react. The assistant can now also recognise hazardous situations at the end of traffic tailbacks where there is no room for evasive action, and brake autonomously much sooner in such situations. Consequently, it is possible to completely avoid accidents at speeds up to 100 km/h or substantially reduce the severity of accidents at speeds above this level.

Evasive Steering Assist: this system is the ideal complement to the pedestrian detection function of Active Brake Assist. If the driver deliberately or instinctively initiates an evasive manoeuvre in a hazardous situation, this function can add 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-up of the vehicle to allow the situation to be negotiated safely.

Advanced assistance systems: the intelligent assistance systems in the new Driver Assistance package also include proven systems that have been further developed in terms of their mode of operation and the sensors they use. Active Lane Keeping Assist is able to use one-sided braking intervention to help counter unintentional departure from a traffic lane. This braking intervention always takes place when an uninterrupted lane marking is crossed unintentionally. Where the markings are interrupted, it only takes place if the radar sensors detect the risk of a collision in the adjacent lane, e.g. with oncoming traffic, overtaking vehicles or parallel traffic. Active Blind Spot Assist can now also warn of the risk of a lateral collision in typical urban traffic at low speeds and, in addition, as before, correctively intervene at the last moment to prevent a collision at speeds above 30 km/h and activate the PRE-SAFE® belt tensioners. PRE-SAFE® PLUS as part of the Driving Assistance package can warn a vehicle behind of an impending rear-end collision by activating the hazard warning flashers at a high frequency. In addition the occupants can be preventively fixed in their seats by tensioning the PRE-SAFE® belts. If the car is stationary, its brakes can be automatically locked. The functions of Traffic Sign Assist have also been extended with a no-entry warning function.

Furthermore, the range of new features in the new E-Class Coupé includes:

Remote Parking Pilot: Also new in the E-Class Coupé is the option to move the vehicle remotely into and out of garages and parking spaces using a smartphone app, enabling the occupants to enter and exit the car easily, even where 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. In the new E-Class this is now followed by the logical next step, as the world's first fully integrated Car-to-X solution goes into series production. As a member of the E‑Class family, the E-Class Coupé also benefits from this future-oriented communication technology. The mobile phone-supported exchange of information with e.g. other vehicles further ahead can effectively allow the driver to "see around corners" or "through obstacles" well in advance. This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as a broken down vehicle at the edge of the road or also in the event of heavy rain or black ice on the road ahead. In this case the new E-Class Coupé imultaneously acts as a receiver and a transmitter, since warning messages are conveyed automatically by evaluating vehicle statuses or manually by the driver into the Mercedes Cloud. The Car-to-X warning messages are shown directly on the navigation map. Some warnings are also communicated to the driver by voice output, which is particularly useful where the road layout is unclear.

PRE-SAFE® Sound: this system is based on a human reflex in the inner ear, called the stapedius reflex. PRE-SAFE® Sound emits a short interference signal through the vehicle's sound system if the risk of a collision is detected. This signal can trigger the natural reflex and thus prepare the occupants' ears for the expected sound of the accident, in order to reduce the stress on the occupants.

High-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, each with 84 individually controlled high-performance LEDs, automatically illuminate the road with a hitherto unattainable, precise distribution of exceptionally bright light – without dazzling other road users. That is because this grid allows the light distribution of the left and right headlamps to be controlled separately and adapted to the changing situation on the road quickly and dynamically. All functions of the Intelligent Light System in low-beam and high-beam mode can furthermore be depicted purely digitally and without mechanical actuators for the first time, including, as a world first, a purely electronically implemented active light function.

Digital Vehicle Key: This system uses Near Field Communication (HFC) technology and allows the driver's smartphone to be used to open/close and start the vehicle.