Fully autonomous driving is still years away, but Mercedes is nearly there with the upcoming S-Class facelift.
The Mercedes S-Class is often regarded as the current car of the future, featuring cutting edge technology years before it becomes standard in other cars. Fully autonomous driving is still years away, but the enhanced driver assist technology included in the upcoming S-Class facelift will bring self-driving cars one step closer to reality. Ahead of its reveal, the German manufacturer has detailed the long list of "Intelligent Drive" assist features that will be equipped in the automaker's latest luxury sedan.
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." Using enhanced camera and radar systems, the new S-Class has can read traffic situations more accurately than ever before in addition to using maps and navigation data to calculate driving behavior for the first time.
This is perhaps best exemplified with the Active Distance Assist Distronic. This clever cruise control reduces the car's speed according to the layout of the road, adjusting for bends, junctions, roundabouts or tool booths, before speeding back up. According to Mercedes, the speed reduction will depend on the selected transmission mode between Eco, Comfort or Sport, which will allow for automated driving for longer periods on country roads. On highways, the Distance Assist will control the distance from the vehicle in front within a speed range of 0-130 mph, and will slow down when approaching exists.
It can even detect when you're in a tailback: stops of up to 30 seconds are now possible to account for stop-go traffic while the S-Class follows the traffic ahead by itself. And that's just for starters. Active Lane Change Assist allows drivers to use the indicator stalk to change lanes at speeds from 50-112 mph. Within the next ten seconds, a sensor detects if the lane is clear before supporting the driver in changing lane. In addition, an Active Speed Limit Assist will ensure you'll never get a speeding ticket again, by recognizing road signs and known speed limits from its navigation system, while an Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a halt in its lane if it detects the driver is no longer actively driving.
New functions also include an Evasive Steering Assist which helps drivers evade pedestrians if they are detected in the car's safety zone, Car-to-X Communication which warns other drivers of impending hazards, and Remote Parking Assist where drivers can use a smartphone app to maneuver the car into tight parking spaces or garages by smartphone. The 2018 Mercedes S-Class will be revealed later this month at the Auto Shanghai 2017. Let there be no doubt that this will be the most technically-advanced Mercedes S-Class yet.