Mercedes Aims To Make Roads Safer

Words Jim Davis | July 09, 2014
Making top-class safety available to everyone is the declared aim of Mercedes-Benz
Words Jim Davis July 09, 2014

Making top-class safety available to everyone is the declared aim of Mercedes-Benz. That is why the CLS-Class will be equipped with many new and feature-enhanced assistance systems in future. COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS is part of the standard equipment. It helps to avoid rear-end collisions – by way of autonomous brake application if necessary.

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class model year 2014, technology, PRE-SAFE Plus

Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class model year 2014, technology, PRE-SAFE Plus

The basis for the numerous functions of the assistance systems is an extensive sensor system, which can provide the vehicle with a 360-degree view. Depending on the vehicle’s equipment, for example, a Stereo Multi Purpose Camera (SMPC) may be included behind the windscreen near the interior mirror. Two camera eyes provide it with a three-dimensional view of the area up to around 50 metres in front of the vehicle, and it is able to monitor the overall situation ahead for a range of up to 500 metres and thus determine the position and movement of objects, especially of vehicles and pedestrians.

Two short-range radar sensors in the front bumper and at the side of the rear bumper respectively (range up to 30 metres), long-range radar (up to 200 metres) including mid-range scan (up to 60 metres) behind the radiator grille and multi-mode radar (up to 80 metres) in the centre of the rear bumper may complete the sensor system.

The data from the camera and radar is compiled in a control unit in order to provide relevant data for a host of assistance systems – a process dubbed “sensor fusion” by safety experts. Intelligent algorithms analyse this data in order to detect and pinpoint the position of vehicles ahead, crossing, approaching from the rear and even from the front, as well as of pedestrians, within a large field of vision. In addition, the camera also detects road markings and a variety of traffic signs. The aim is all-round protection not just for occupants of the vehicle itself, but for other road users too.

The CLS-Class is fitted as standard with ATTENTION ASSIST, which can warn the driver of inattentiveness and drowsiness. On motorways the COMAND Online navigation function offers nearby break options as stopovers, providing the system has been specified in the vehicle. The ATTENTION ASSIST function offers an adjustable level of sensitivity and can inform drivers in a separate view in the instrument cluster about their level of drowsiness and how long they have been driving since their last break.

COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS: now brakes autonomously when there is a threat of a rear-end collision

Also part of the standard equipment is COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS. The system can provide effective aid in mitigating the severity of rear-end collisions or even in preventing them entirely.

To this end, the radar-based system constantly monitors the area of traffic in front of the vehicle, and can determine the distance and speed of the vehicles in front. If it falls clearly below the safe following distance, the system issues a visual warning to the driver. If it detects a serious risk of collision, the driver receives an additional audible warning. At the same time, the system computes the braking power required to still prevent the impact in the ideal case at speeds from as low as 7 km/h. If the warned driver then depresses the brake pedal firmly, the system is capable of boosting insufficient braking commensurate to the situation. In so doing it makes the best possible use of the remaining distance in order to leave vehicles following behind space for braking manoeuvres.

If the driver fails to react, new COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS can go one step further and autonomously brake for slower or stopping vehicles. The system even brakes when stationary vehicles are detected up to a speed of 50 km/h, and can prevent rear-end collisions up to 40 km/h depending on the situation.

The PRE-SAFE® system is another standard item. It triggers preventive occupant protection measures when the risk of accident is imminent, including the reversible belt tensioners.

Another optional extra is the Driver Assistance package Plus. This encompasses the following assistance systems:

  • DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot – relieves the burden on the driver in keeping a safe following distance, even in stop and go traffic. Steering Assist is new and helps the driver with lateral control of the vehicle, even in gentle bends, and offers a tailback vehicle following function.
  • BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist – boosts driver braking depending on the situation, if necessary up to full brake application and, for the first time, can also react to crossing traffic and pedestrians.
  • PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian detection – provides autonomous braking in the absence of a driver reaction. In typical urban driving scenarios, it can now prevent collisions with pedestrians or stationary vehicles or reduce their severity.
  • PRE-SAFE® PLUS – detects an impending rear impact, warns the traffic following behind by means of high-frequency flashing of the rear hazard warning lamps, locks the brakes if the vehicle is stationary to reduce forward jolt and thus reduces the strain placed on the occupants and the risk of secondary accidents. PRE-SAFE® is activated immediately prior to the impact.
  • Active Blind Spot Assist – issues a visual and, if the indicator is activated, an audible warning of the presence of a vehicle in the blind spot area, and can prevent a potential side-on collision by actuating the brakes on one side at the last moment.
  • Active Lane Keeping Assist – warns of unintentional lane departures by means of pulsed vibrations of the steering wheel and in the presence of solid lane markings corrects the vehicle’s alignment position with one-sided brake application. It now also intervenes with one-sided brake application if the adjacent lane is occupied by, for example, oncoming traffic, fast overtaking or overtaken vehicles.

Also available as an optional extra:

  • MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with high-performance, precision LED modules adapt to a wide array of road and traffic conditions and adjust
  • the light distribution precisely and highly dynamically for optimum visibility. There is an integral “coming home” function.
  • Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus (part of optional MULTIBEAM LED) allows the high-beam headlamps to be kept on permanently without dazzling traffic by masking out other vehicles in the beams’ cone of light.
  • Traffic Sign Assist – now recognises no-overtaking zones and the end of these zones in addition to speed limits. Can warn visually and audibly of no-entry signs (wrong-way driving) if the appropriate signs are posted.
  • Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC – makes automated parking with active steering and brake actuation possible in both parallel and end-on spaces. Can also help when leaving a parallel parking space if the vehicle was parked using the system.
  • 360° camera (part of the optional Parking package) – makes parking and manoeuvring possible with a 360-degree view. The vehicle and its surroundings can be displayed on the multimedia system display from a bird’s-eye view and other perspectives.