Mercedes-Benz Driver Assistance Systems: The Next Step: Automated Driving Functions and Exemplary Safety
Sindelfingen, May 2, 2017 – The S-Class is all set to take another major step towards the future of autonomous driving, raising Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the next level in the process. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC and Active Steering Assist now support the driver even more easily in keeping a safe distance and providing steering input, and now the vehicle speed is also automatically adjusted in bends and at road junctions. Also included are Active Emergency Stop Assist and a considerably improved Active Lane Change Assist.
The new S-Class has an even better view of the traffic situation: improved camera and radar systems will allow it to look further up ahead than ever before. It also makes substantially greater use of map and navigation data. This means that Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC is able to assist the driver in many situations, even on a route-specific basis, and also comfortably adjust the vehicle speed.
The driver is also able to see at a glance which assistance functions have been selected, and which situations the systems are reacting to at the given moment.
The individual functions in detail:
Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC: The speed preset can be predictively reduced according to the route ahead of bends, junctions, roundabouts or toll booths, then increased after passing. If the route has been selected using the navigation system, the S-Class also responds accordingly: if the vehicle is in the furthest right lane, it decelerates when approaching the desired interstate exit. The same applies to junctions where the navigation route predicts a turn or when the driver activates the turn indicator.
The reduction in speed occurs in varying degrees, depending on the selected transmission mode (ECO, COMFORT SPORT or INDIVIDUAL). In ECO mode, the cornering speed is configured to correspond with Active Steering Assist. This means that assisted driving for longer periods is possible on country roads. On highways and multi-lane roads, Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC controls the distance from the vehicle ahead within a larger speed range than in previous years and keeps the car on track.
Coasting characteristics can now also be taken into account. In the interests of smooth and efficient driving, the speed is reduced. If the vehicle is equipped with a drive system suitable for “gliding” (coasting with the engine off), this mode is automatically activated when the ECO transmission mode is active.
Active Lane Change Assist: When the driver wishes to change lanes on multi-lane roads (as recognized by the navigation system) at highway speeds, it is now sufficient to simply nudge the indicator stalk. Within the next few seconds, the sensors, along with the driver, check whether the adjacent lane is clear – in front of, alongside and behind the vehicle, also taking into account the speed of any other vehicles. When there is no other vehicle within the relevant safety zone, the driver is supported in changing lanes. The initiated lane change is indicated in the instrument cluster and on the head-up display.
Active Speed Limit Assist: In conjunction with COMAND® Navigation, Active Speed Limit Assist – an active advancement of Traffic Sign Assist – is also able to recognize most traffic signs. Known speed limits, are also adopted from the navigation system. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC adapts the vehicle’s speed to the recognized speed limits automatically. In certain cases, the speed can be adjusted preemptively on the basis of map data.
Active Emergency Stop Assist: If this system detects that the driver is no longer actively driving the vehicle, it is able to brake the vehicle to a standstill in its lane if Active Steering Assist is enabled. There are several steps that have to take place before Active Emergency Stop Assist will intervene. If there is no steering wheel movement over a predefined period, the system gives the driver a visual and audible prompt to place his/her hands on the wheel. If the driver fails to respond after repeated visual and audible prompts by moving the steering wheel, accelerating, braking or pressing the Touch Control Buttons on the steering wheel, the car will be slowed down in the identified lane until it comes to a standstill. At slower speeds, the traffic behind the vehicle is warned by means of activating the hazard lights. When the vehicle comes to a standstill, the parking brake is engaged automatically. With available mbrace® Secure, the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system is activated. The vehicle is also unlocked to allow first aid responders immediate access to the interior. All these actions are cancelled as soon as the driver takes control of the vehicle again.
Active Brake Assist with Cross-Traffic Function: This system is able to help the driver avoid impending collisions with vehicles ahead, stationary or crossing vehicles and pedestrians if the driver fails to take any action to defuse the dangerous situation. This assistance takes the form of:
- a warning light in the instrument cluster, if the distance from a vehicle in front is inadequate
- an additional audible warning when a danger of collision is identified
- assisted emergency braking to avoid a collision with moving, stationary or crossing vehicles ahead
- assisted emergency braking for pedestrians
- supplemental braking assistance as soon as the driver applies the brakes
Evasive Steering Assist: Evasive Steering Assist can support the driver in taking evasive action when pedestrians are detected in the danger zone in front of the vehicle, but only after the driver initiates such action. The system then applies additional steering torque in the direction in which the driver is performing an evasive maneuver. This helps the driver to avoid a pedestrian in a controlled manner and to stabilize the vehicle afterwards on its orginal course.
Active Lane Keeping Assist: This system is able to warn the driver by means of vibrations of the steering wheel when the vehicle is unintentionally drifting out of its lane. If the vehicle passes over a solid line, this system can pull the vehicle back into lane by applying the brakes on one side. In the case of crossing a broken line, such intervention takes place only when there is a danger of collision with a vehicle in the next lane (including danger from oncoming traffic).
Active Blind Spot Assist: In a wide range of speeds, this system is able to provide the driver with a visual alert, plus an audible alarm when a turn indicator is actuated, to warn of a side collision with another vehicle, or even bicycles, for example. At higher speeds, one-sided, automatic braking can additionally be applied to help avoid a side collision.
Traffic Sign Assist: Traffic Sign Assist displays the current speed limit on the headunit or instrument cluster display as well as the Head Up Display by gathering data embedded in the navigation system.
Car-to-X Communication: Information concerning hazardous situations which a vehicle on the road has detected is made available to all other equipped vehicles in the general area to give drivers an early warning. As with Live Traffic, reports transmitted by Car-to-X Communication are shown on the COMAND® Navigation map. Depending on the situation, a warning by voice output can be given when approaching a hazard.
Active Parking Assist: Active Parking Assist supports the driver in searching for a parking space and when entering or leaving parallel or straight-on parking spaces. In the case of straight-on parking spaces, it is active in both forward and reverse directions. Active Parking Assist maneuvers the vehicle automatically into the selected parking space. In the case of Active Parking Assist with the Surround View System, all-around vision is made possible by the reversing camera and three additional cameras. The information is presented clearly in full HD in a choice of different views on the central display.