Unique combination of driver assistance systems

A world-first combination of state-of-the-art assistance and protection systems is available for the 2010 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. Many of these systems are also available in the new Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which has been on the market since the end of March 2009. The new assistance systems turn the models of the E-Class and S-Class into "intelligent" partners for their drivers. The car is able to "see", "feel", to respond "instinctively" to detected dangers and to act "on its own initiative" in order to avoid accidents or to reduce the severity of accidents.

"Similarly to the established Mercedes inventions ABS, ESP®, Brake Assist and PRE-SAFE®, the new assistance systems are also geared to the realities of how accidents occur and what consequences they entail," observes Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the board of management at Daimler AG and responsible for corporate research and the development of Mercedes-Benz Cars. "The aim in developing these systems was to prevent particularly common and serious collisions. With this concept, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class not only protects its own occupants but also plays a key role in enhancing safety for other motorists," Dr. Weber adds.

To this end, Mercedes-Benz also deploys cameras which scan the road far ahead of the vehicle, monitor the surrounding area and interpret typical critical situations. Such cameras are employed in the optionally available Adaptive Highbeam Assist system, for example. This system detects vehicles with their lights on which are travelling towards or ahead of the car in which the system is fitted and controls the headlamps such as to ensure the largest possible range without dazzling other drivers.

The Sindelfingen-based engineers have also enhanced Night View Assist, which is now equipped with a special pedestrian detection function: as soon as the system detects pedestrians ahead of the car, they are highlighted on the display to make them more readily noticeable.

Lane Keeping Assist is another system that "looks ahead" for even safer driving. The system's computer is able to recognise lane markings by evaluating the contrasting images of the road surface and the markings. If the vehicle leaves the lane identified by the Assist function unintentionally, the driver is warned by short vibrations of the steering wheel. Unlike conventional systems of this kind, the Mercedes system is able to evaluate the driver's activities as well, and can reliably ascertain whether the car is leaving its lane intentionally or not. There is therefore no warning if the driver accelerates before overtaking or joining a motorway, brakes heavily or enters a bend, for example.

The images supplied by the windscreen camera are also used by the new, optional Speed Limit Assist system, which identifies speed limit signs in passing and shows the relevant speed limit in the central display (standard for S600).

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