Η Mercedes-Benz παρουσιάζει αρκετές από τις τεχνολογίες που θα διαθέτει η νέα γενιά της E-Class. Συνολικά υπάρχουν 9 νέες τεχνολογίες, ανάμεσα τους και αυτό το πρωτοποριακό και συνάμα άχρηστο σύστημα, αλλά και το σύστημα επικοινωνίας “Car-to-X”, που επιτρέπει την επικοινωνία ανάμεσα στα αυτοκίνητα και έχει ως στόχο να συμβάλει στη μείωση των ατυχημάτων που γίνονται σε κλειστές στροφές και σε διασταυρώσεις.
Επίσης, διαθέτει το εξελιγμένο σύστημα Intelligent Drive Next Level, το οποίο λειτουργεί σε ταχύτητες έως και 200 χλμ/ώρα και περιλαμβάνει συστήματα όπως την υποβοήθηση διεύθυνσης για την αποφυγή ατυχημάτων ή εμποδίων, την ώθηση των μπροστά επιβατών μακριά από τις πόρτες σε περίπτωση πλευρικής σύγκρουσης, αλλά και την προστασία της ακοής των επιβατών σε περίπτωση ατυχήματος.
Η Mercedes τοποθετεί στη νέα E-Class, που θα παρουσιαστεί στην έκθεση του Detroit τον Ιανουάριο του 2016, το σύστημα Steering Pilot που επιτρέπει το αυτοκίνητο να οδηγείται αυτόνομα στον αυτοκινητόδρομο με ταχύτητες έως 130 χλμ/ώρα και συνεργάζεται με το σύστημα Distance Pilot Distronic -ενεργό cruise control- που με τη βοήθεια αισθητήρων και καμερών, επιτρέπει στο αυτοκίνητο να διατηρήσει μια ασφαλή απόσταση από το μπροστινό αυτοκίνητο, ακόμη και σε ταχύτητες έως 200 χλμ/ώρα.
Επίσης σε αυτή συναντάμε τα συστήματα Active Brake Assist και Evasive Steering Assist, με το πρώτο να φρενάρει αυτόματα το αυτοκίνητο, ενώ το δεύτερο είναι σε θέση να αναλάβει στιγμιαία τον έλεγχο του οχήματος, όταν επίκειται σύγκρουση με πεζό. Η Mercedes μετατρέπει σε κλειδί το smartphone του οδηγού, μιας και μέσω NFC και κάρτας Security SIM, ο κάτοχος θα μπορεί να χρησιμοποιεί το τηλέφωνο του ως κλειδί ακόμη και όταν η μπαταρία του αυτοκινήτου έχει αδειάσει.
Σε ότι αφορά τα Multibeam LED φωτιστικά σώματα. Αυτά πλέον αποτελούνται από 84 διόδους LED, με τον έλεγχο της δέσμης του φωτός να γίνεται με πολύ μεγαλύτερη ακρίβεια ώστε να μην τυφλώνονται οι άλλοι χρήστες του δρόμου.
New assistance and safety systems
On the road to autonomous and accident-free driving
Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz is taking a further major step along the road to accident-free and autonomous driving: Drivers can expect to enjoy a new dimension of safety, comfort and stress relief in the future E-Class, which is being launched next spring. Numerous innovations in the new driver assistance package will enable semi-automated driving on freeways, highways and in city traffic, allow the car to be moved into and out of tight parking spaces from outside using a smartphone app, and facilitate autonomous braking to mitigate dangerous situations. Car-to-X Communication provides an early warning of dangers that lie ahead. Sophisticated radio technology turns the smartphone into a vehicle key. New PRE-SAFE® protective components can protect the occupants in a side impact and even prepare their ears for the loud noise of the accident. MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with high-resolution precision LED modules are exceptionally bright and automatically illuminate the road surface with precision-controlled light distribution – without blinding other road users.
Safety is a core element of the Mercedes-Benz brand, which has been setting the pace in the development of active and passive vehicle safety measures for almost 70 years, not only for the benefit of Mercedes drivers, but also for that of other road users. Mercedes-Benz consistently pursues this road. Prof Dr Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development: “We are taking a further major step along the road to autonomous and connected driving. The innovations that will be available for the future E-Class taking safety, stress relief, and comfort to a new level. And as such further Mercedes-Benz is underlining its leading position as a safety pioneer”.
Highlights of the Driver Assistance Package that will make the future E-Class the most intelligent saloon in its class include:
- Intelligent Drive next Level: this system sees Mercedes-Benz taking the next step along the road to autonomous driving. On motorways and country roads, it is not only able to keep the car at a correct distance behind slower vehicles ahead automatically, it can also follow them in their lane at a speeds from 0 of up to 200 km/h. This can relieve the driver, who doesn’t necessarily need to operate the brake or accelerator pedal during normal driving and also receives plenty of steering assistance – even in bends. At speeds up to 130 km/h, the system is not necessarily dependent on clearly visible lane markings as it can also intervene actively if the lines on the road are unclear, as is often the case at road works, or even if there are no lines on the road at all. The system therefore makes driving much easier, especially in traffic jams or heavy congestion. In combination with COMAND Online, the optional Speed Limit Pilot subfunction can autonomously adjust the vehicle’s speed in response to camera-detected speed limits or speed limits logged in the navigation system, e.g. in Germany 50 km/h in towns or 100 km/h on country roads.
- Active Brake Assist: this system with enhanced functionality can warn the driver of imminent crash situations, provide just the right level of assistance in the event of sudden braking and also apply the brakes automatically in an emergency. In addition to detecting slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it also detects and reacts to crossing traffic at junctions, the tail ends of traffic jams and pedestrians in the danger zone ahead of the vehicle, for example.
- Evasive Steering Assist: this system is the ideal complement to the pedestrian detection function of Active Brake Assist. When the driver deliberately or instinctively performs an evasive manoeuvre in a dangerous situation, this function can assist by adding 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 of the vehicle in order to pass safely.
- Remote Parking Pilot: this system for the first time allows the vehicle to be moved into and out of parking spaces from outside using a smartphone app, allowing the occupants to get into and out of the car easily, even if 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. Now comes the logical next step as the world’s first fully integral Car-to-X solution goes into series production. The mobile phone-supported exchange of information with other vehicles further ahead on the road, for example, can effectively allow the driver to see around corners or through obstacles. This means that the driver receives an earlier warning than previously in the event of imminent danger, such as vehicle in an accident.
- Digital Car Key: this drive authorisation system uses Near Field Communication technology and allows the driver’s smartphone to be used as a vehicle key.
- PRE-SAFE® Impulse Side: with this system, available to complement the driver assistance package, if an unavoidable side collision is detected, the air chambers in the backrest side bolsters inflate rapidly to preventively move the occupant sideways, away from the danger area. This increases the distance between occupant and door.
- PRE-SAFE® Sound: this system is a first in that it makes use of a natural reflex to protect the occupants’ ears from the expected noise in the event of a possible collision.
- High-resolution MULTIBEAM LED headlamps, each with 84 individually activated high-performance LEDs, automatically illuminate the road surface with precision-controlled distribution of exceptionally bright light – without blinding other road users.
These new, intelligent assistance and safety systems see Mercedes-Benz taking another step closer to its goal of accident-free and autonomous driving.
Traffic situation analysis
Less stress, more safety and more comfort – thanks to a cross-system concept comprising assistance and safety functions.
Mercedes-Benz calls its integrated approach to preventing accidents and minimising their consequences “Real Life Safety”. Mercedes-Benz is consistently pursuing this strategy by developing a wealth of new assistance systems and greatly extended functions. Comfort and safety are enhanced at the same time. Technical innovations open up new perspectives for car drivers and automotive developers. Mercedes-Benz calls this “Intelligent Drive”.
Mercedes-Benz will be further widening the spectrum of driver assistance in future. It ranges from relieving the burden on the driver with semi-automated driving, increasing comfort and convenience in the process, to issuing visual, acoustic and/or haptical warning signals and boosting the driver’s reactions. Some systems are even able to take corrective action in an emergency, such as autonomous application of the brakes to prevent an accident or lessen its severity.
Safety, comfort and stress relief growing closer together
The Mercedes-Benz engineers achieve this by continuously developing and optimizing the safety components and the driver assistance systems. Integral Safety and Intelligent Drive are becoming increasingly intertwined, working in synergy together in a cross-system concept. Its components can:
- provide stress-relief during normal driving
- detect dangers
- warn, assist and intervene in time
- consequently prevent accidents or reduce the severity of accidents
- activate protective measures such as the PRE-SAFE® components as a precaution in the event of danger and thus provide on-demand protection
The individual functions are linked to networked sensors and, therefore, a wealth of information about the vehicle and its surroundings – including an enhanced multi-purpose stereo camera behind the windscreen and new multi-stage radar sensors with adjustable range and opening angle around the vehicle plus tried-and-tested sensors such as ultrasonic sensors and the 360° cameras’ lenses. The combined use of data from the sensors allows analysis of complex traffic situations, better detection of potential dangers on the road and, therefore, the ability to further enhance the increasing number of functions provided by the safety and assistance systems.
With this, Mercedes-Benz is consistently pursuing the vision of accident-free and autonomous driving, offering a high level of driving enjoyment, enhanced comfort, less traffic-induced stress and greater safety for all road users.
Intelligent Drive next Level as part of Driver Assistance Package
Semi-automated driving, stress relief, autonomous braking
Semi-automated driving on freeways, highways and even in city traffic, autonomous braking where required in hazardous situations and active assistance with evasive manoeuvres – these are just some of the functions of the new and extended Intelligent Drive driver assistance package from Mercedes-Benz. Our goal: more comfort and less stress by reducing the pressure on the driver, combined with greater safety for all road users.
Trips can be long and monotonous, sometimes lasting several hours. Traffic on the freeways or highways only moves slowly. And the vehicle in front has to repeatedly brake to a halt. This all requires the utmost attention on the part of the driver. Stress is inevitable. In future Mercedes-Benz will address these familiar situations by introducing the Intelligent Drive next Level as a further step on the road to autonomous and relaxed driving.
This assistance system not only provides a Distance Pilot DISTRONIC function – automatically maintaining the correct distance to vehicles in front by adjusting the car’s higher desired speed to that of a slower-moving vehicle ahead before accelerating back up to the desired speed once the way ahead is clear again – it can also follow traffic ahead in its lane at speeds from 0 up to 200 km/h. This can make life easier for the driver, who no longer needs to operate the brake or accelerator pedal in normal driving situations and who also receives plenty of steering assistance – even in bends. The system utilizes a further-developed multi-purpose stereo camera behind the windscreen and new radar sensors around the vehicle to detect and orientate itself on road markings, the vehicle in front and also its surroundings. At speeds up to 130 km/h, the Steering Pilot function is not necessarily dependent on clearly visible lane markings as it can also intervene actively if the lines on the road are unclear, as is often the case at road works, or even if there are no lines on the road at all.
Comfort is enhanced by the Speed Limit Pilot subfunction that can be activated in conjunction with COMAND Online. It can autonomously adjust the vehicle’s speed in response to camera-detected speed limits or speed limits logged in the navigation system, such as in Germany 50 km/h in towns or 100 km/h on country highways.
Despite active longitudinal and lateral guidance with significantly enhanced steering assistance, Intelligent Drive next Level continues to be designed as a semi-automated assistance system in which the driver still needs to keep their hands on the steering wheel. On the one hand, this is a technical necessity, while, on the other, it is a legal requirement. A intelligent hands-on detection provides a clearly felt, increased customer benefit while taking account of, for example, vehicle speed or road type and curvature. This can effectively take the pressure off the driver and provide assistance, especially in bumper-to-bumper or congested traffic, yet also on long journeys. A considerable contribution is also made by the intelligent design of the restart after automatic stopping, for example in traffic jams on motorways.
Automatic braking in an emergency
Exceptional assistance is offered by the new Active Brake Assist with extended functionality. Its job is to warn the driver of imminent crash situations, to optimally assist them during emergency braking and, if necessary, also to initiate automatic autonomous braking. Mercedes-Benz’s objective is thus to prevent collisions or at least to reduce their consequences.
Active Brake Assist likewise uses the radar sensors installed in the vehicle as well as the stereo-multi-purpose camera. These enable it to detect whether the vehicle in front is slowing down, stopping or is stationary. If the system detects a risk of collision and the driver fails to respond to a collision warning or is late responding, the system automatically initiates autonomous braking.
The Cross-Traffic Function of Active Brake Assist also detects cross-traffic and pedestrians in the danger area in front of the vehicle. Also in these cases, Active Brake Assist first warns the driver if there is a risk of collision, providing assistance if the driver fails to brake hard enough. If the driver fails to react, the system initiates braking automatically. If a pedestrian enters the danger area relatively late, the assistance system even brakes simultaneously with the warning to allow the speed of the vehicle to be reduced even faster.
Active Brake Assist is active in a speed range from 7 to 250 km/h for moving objects and can react to stationary objects between 7 and 100 km/h. Under ideal conditions, it can thus prevent a collision with stationary vehicles or pedestrians up to a speed of around 65 km/h. In end-of-tailback scenarios with no opportunity for evasive action, Active Brake Assist can automatically reduce the risk of a collision up to even 90 km/h. Depending on the situation, the cross-traffic function is capable of preventing collisions with crossing traffic in a speed range up to around 70 km/h or of reducing the severity of the collision. The system thus generally makes a significant contribution to preventing accidents or reducing their severity.
Safe evasive action
The intelligent functions of the driver assistance package from Mercedes-Benz also include Evasive Steering Assist. This can help the driver to avoid a pedestrian detected by the assistance system using the radar sensors and multi-purpose stereo camera. If the driver initiates an evasive manoeuvre by turning the steering wheel, the system provides assistance by adding 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 in order to pass safely. While the philosophy behind Evasive Steering Assist is to provide the driver with significant assistance, the initiative to take evasive action must come from the driver. This is because, if evasive action were automatic, a previously inattentive driver might be so surprised by the spontaneous movement of the steering wheel that they might react incorrectly and, for example, intuitively attempt to countersteer.
Proven assistance systems
The intelligent assistance systems in the new driver assistance package from Mercedes-Benz 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 can help stop the driver from unintentionally changing lane, this being done by corrective one-sided application of the brakes, including in the case of broken lines and risk of collision, e.g. with oncoming traffic or fast overtaking vehicles. Active Blind Spot Assist can warn of the risk of a lateral collision and likewise correctively intervene at the last moment to prevent a collision. PRE-SAFE® PLUS can protect against collisions with traffic following behind.
Ferngesteuertes Parken per Smartphone-App
Durch Steuerung von außen mit einer Smartphone-App erleichtert der Remote Park-Pilot das Aus- und Einparken in engen Parklücken und in der Garage.
Ausparken kann zur Qual werden, wenn man feststellt, dass ein anderes Fahrzeug so dicht geparkt hat, dass es die Tür des eigenen Fahrzeugs blockiert. In engen Parkhäusern ist das keine Seltenheit. Aber auch manche Garage ist so schmal, dass das Ein- und Aussteigen mühevoll ist und bisweilen Kratzer zur Folge haben kann. Solche misslichen Situationen entschärft Mercedes-Benz mit einem erstmalig angebotenen System zum ferngesteuerten Ein- und Ausparken: Der Remote Park-Pilot wird per Smartphone via Bluetooth® von außerhalb des Fahrzeugs gesteuert.
Besonders Personen, die in ihrer Bewegungsfreiheit beeinträchtigt sind, ermöglicht der Remote Park-Pilot, das Fahrzeug von außen in eine Position zu rangieren, in der ein Ein- und Aussteigen manchmal überhaupt erst möglich wird. Eltern bietet das System zudem den großen Vorteil, ihre Kinder nicht mehr vor einer Parklücke oder am Straßenrand warten lassen zu müssen, bis Vater oder Mutter das Fahrzeug aus einer engen Parklücke rangiert haben. Mit dem Remote Park-Pilot kann die ganze Familie an einer sicheren Stelle abwarten, bis das Fahrzeug eine Position erreicht hat, in der sicheres Ein- beziehungsweise Aussteigen möglich ist.
Um dieses komfortable System zu nutzen, muss sich der Fahrer mit seinem Smartphone in einem Bereich von zirka drei Metern um das Fahrzeug befinden. Zum Bedienen dient eine Smartphone-App (Android, iOS), die in den jeweiligen App Stores zum Download bereitgestellt wird. Vor dem Ausparken muss der Fahrer das Fahrzeug entriegeln. Danach kann er die Verbindung zu seinem zuvor autorisierten Smartphone herstellen und eines der verfügbaren Ausparkmanöver auswählen. Auch vor dem Einparken wählt er eines der infrage kommenden Parkszenarios – zum Beispiel Quer- oder Längsparken, links oder rechts, vorwärts oder rückwärts.
Danach kann er das Fahrzeug von außen in Bewegung setzen. Dieses führt das Parkszenario mit Lenken, Bremsen und Richtungswechsel automatisch durch, solange der Fahrer eine Bestätigungsgeste auf dem Smartphone kontinuierlich ausführt. Der Fahrer überwacht den Vorgang von außen und hat weiterhin die gesamte Verantwortung für sein Fahrzeug während des gesamten Parkvorgangs.
Zusätzlich zu den Parkszenarien ist ein Explore-Modus verfügbar, bei dem sich das Fahrzeug – zum Beispiel in Garageneinfahrten – bis zu zehn Meter vorwärts oder rückwärts geradeaus manövrieren lässt und sich dabei an erkannten Hindernissen vorbeitasten kann, ohne diese anzufahren.
Der Remote Park-Pilot nutzt als technische Voraussetzung die Ultraschallsensoren des Park-Piloten PARKTRONIC. Das von Mercedes-Benz neu entwickelte System ist in Verbindung mit den Sonderausstattungen Park-Pilot mit 360°-Kamera, KEYLESS‑GO System und Automatik-Getriebe erhältlich.
Expand your horizons
Although modern cars can scan their surroundings with radar, camera and ultrasonic sensors, they cannot see around corners. This is where Car-to-X technology comes in. It can forward information to other vehicles some distance away thanks to intelligent communication systems and thus warn other road users of dangerous situations at an early stage, for example.
Icy road around the next bend? An emergency-service vehicle 500 metres away? A sudden traffic jam at spontaneous road works? These nasty surprises are factored out of the equation if the approaching motorist is given an accurate warning in plenty of time. Other vehicles will be able to do this in future by warning other road users automatically once they have registered a hazard. This is the principle of Car‑to-X communication, which Mercedes-Benz has initiated, becoming the world’s first car manufacturer to introduce it for production vehicles.
Car-to-X technology is able to significantly expand the scope of existing vehicle sensors, such as radar or camera systems for example. It allows dangerous situations automatically detected in the vehicle or manually reported by the driver to be conveyed to other vehicles, making it possible to “see” around corners or through obstacles. Consequently information about potential hazards on the road can be forwarded to drivers at an early stage so that they can prepare for them and avoid critical situations altogether – such as those caused by suddenly changing weather conditions or stationary recovery vehicles at the side of the road.
As well as being able to receive hazard warnings, every vehicle equipped with Car‑to-X technology can also send these warnings to other road users. As a result of the seamless integration of the Car-to-X system into the existing vehicle systems, Mercedes-Benz passenger cars are able to detect a variety of sources of danger, for example a breakdown or slippery roads, automatically. The driver does not need to do anything.
For Car-to-X Communication, Mercedes-Benz uses the vehicle’s integral mobile-phone technology as, thanks to its widespread use, it can unleash the potential of Car-to-X technology in the fastest time. In the Daimler Vehicle Backend, the data are aggregated, checked for plausibility and forwarded to other similarly equipped vehicles in the relevant vicinity.
The system is configured to receive information from approaching rescue vehicles, such as police or fire-fighting vehicles, if the relevant data are provided by the respective operators in future. The dangerous situation in which drivers do not hear sirens could therefore become a thing of the past.
Preparations are likewise under way for integrating further sources of data.
Car-to-X Communication operates in the background and does not distract the driver’s attention from the road. It provides the driver with early and accurate information in safety-critical situations. Car-to-X technology can therefore be integrated into the “Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive” strategy seamlessly.
By becoming the world’s first manufacturer to introduce Car-to-X technology for production vehicles, Mercedes-Benz is once again reaffirming its role as a safety pioneer, and demonstrating that its engineers are continuing to work consistently to bring to the roads innovations which can be used not only by our customers but also by other road users.
Digital Car Key
Smartphone instead of car key
Most people now always keep their smartphones close to hand. In Mercedes‑Benz vehicles they will soon be able to use it as a vehicle key, opening up a wealth of individual possibilities.
The smartphone merely has to be held near the door handle to unlock the vehicle. This convenient and safe feature is based on NFC (Near Field Communication) technology. NFC is an international transmission standard for contactless data exchange via radio over short distances of a few centimetres. Previously this technology was above all used for data exchange between electronic devices such as smartphones and tablets. To this end, the devices have to be held closely together. No specific login procedure is required to connect the devices. The necessary physical closeness of the devices prevents pairing errors and ensures the connection is secure.
NFC technology is also increasing in importance in other areas of daily life, solutions for cashless payment of small amounts at supermarkets (micropayments) being one example.
Mercedes-Benz uses an NFC interface near the handle in the driver’s door. If the driver’s smartphone is NFC-compatible and equipped with a Secure SIM, it can be used as a drive authorisation system.
PRE-SAFE® impulse side
A safe nudge in the ribs
Mercedes-Benz is further extending its PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system by adding the innovative PRE-SAFE® impulse side function. If an imminent side collision is detected, it moves the occupant as far away as possible from the acute danger zone before impact.
Mercedes-Benz has been protecting car occupants with its PRE-SAFE® concept in many accident situations for more than ten years. The concept includes various measures to move the occupants into the best possible position prior to an imminent impact.
Unlike in the case of a frontal collision, there is only a limited crumple zone available in the event of a side impact. To increase the size of this zone, the new PRE-SAFE® impulse side function moves the occupant in the danger zone away from the door and towards the centre of the vehicle just before an imminent side impact. To do this, the system inflates the air chambers in the side bolsters of the backrest within a fraction of a second when an imminent side impact is detected. This impulse can move the occupant to the side, away from the acute danger area and towards the vehicle centre, thus increasing the distance between occupant and door. At the same time, the impulse is imparted moderately to the occupant, lessening the forces acting on them during the side impact. This can substantially lessen the load exerted on the ribcage by the side collision and greatly reduce the risk of injury.
Extensive tests have shown that the brief impulse does not critically affect the driver’s ability to control the vehicle. The system is available as an optional extra for the front seats.
Ears closed before the loud bang
In a first, Mercedes-Benz is making use of a natural reflex to prepare the occupants’ ears for the loud noise normally associated with an accident.
Nature has cleverly thought of this: a muscle in our ears known as the stapedius reacts to loud noises reflexively by contracting. The contraction of this tiny muscle briefly changes the link between the eardrum and the inner ear, providing greater protection against high sound pressures.
Mercedes-Benz uses this natural reflex as biomechanical ear protection for the PRE-SAFE® Sound innovation, since an accident may cause noise to which some people react sensitively. PRE-SAFE® Sound therefore emits a short interference signal through the vehicle’s sound system if the risk of a collision is detected. This signal can trigger the stapedius reflex, which prepares the ears for the noise and thus lessens the risk of hearing discomfort or damage.
Clever cross between belt and airbag
For the first time, the new E-Class features beltbags for the passengers on the outer rear seats, as already introduced in the S-Class.
The seat belt is one of the most important inventions of the 20th century and has saved hundreds of thousands of lives. It has been optimised over the years with the addition of belt tensioners and belt force limiters. But its development is far from over: the belt strap can be widened with the introduction of the beltbag, an inflatable seat belt which further reduces the risk of injury in the event of an accident. Mercedes-Benz first introduced this innovation in the latest S-Class and will also be offering it for the passengers on the outer rear seats in the new E-Class.
The beltbag is used in exactly the same way as a conventional seat belt. As its name suggests, it combines seat belt and airbag components. The beltbag replaces the conventional belt strap in the 3-point seat belt system with an inflatable belt strap. It is woven from a single piece of material and features tear seams. The beltbag is deployed in the event of a severe frontal collision. A gas generator on the belt’s end fitting inflates the belt strap to several times its normal width. This enlarges the belt strap area in the upper body region so that the force is distributed more widely than is the case with a conventional belt. This is of particular benefit to passengers whose bone structure is less flexible due to age or illness: another contribution to the Mercedes-Benz “Real Life Safety” philosophy.
High-resolution LED headlamps
Let there be light
The future E-Class with enhanced MULTIBEAM LED headlamps opens up new dimensions in headlamp technology. Each headlamp is now equipped with 84 individually activated high-performance LEDs rather than 24, meaning that they are exceptionally bright and precise, and automatically illuminate the road surface with a previously unsurpassed, precision-controlled distribution of light – without dazzling other road users.
Advances in lighting technology are a tradition at Mercedes-Benz: around 500 LEDs attended to all the lighting functions on a car for the first time on the S-Class in 2013. In 2014 Mercedes-Benz unveiled new MULTIBEAM LED headlamps with precision LED grid modules in the CLS, to make night-time traffic safer for all road users. The statistics show just how important such precision lights are: at night-time, the risk of accidents increases drastically. At night on rural roads there are basically around five times as many accidents with serious consequences as during the day. Although night-time driving on this category of road only accounts for 20 percent of total mileage, this is when and where 40 percent all of all fatal accidents occur (source: BASt, German Federal Office for Roads and Traffic).
Unlike the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps on the CLS, which each feature 24 individual high-performance LEDs, the next generation on the new E-Class uses a newly developed, high-resolution precision LED module as a grid light source, fitted with 84 high-performance LED chips. This is able to react even more dynamically, and the light illuminating the road is high-resolution and even more precise.
Each one of these LEDs can be individually electronically controlled. “Gridding” the light in this way allows the light distribution from the right and left headlamps to be controlled entirely separately and adapted to the traffic conditions with a high level of dynamism. This enables the individual areas of the road surface to be illuminated in a very specific manner.
When it comes to the number of pixels, the same is true of LED headlamps as of a monitor: the higher the number of individually controllable pixels, the higher the resolution and the finer the displayed image. A high number of pixels also allows greater dynamism in the display. In terms of perception, this leads to a clear increase in precision and brilliance.
With 84 LEDs per precision module, the headlamps on the new E-Class allow the resolution of the light pattern to be increased by a factor of around 3.5. As a result, other road users can be protected more precisely against dazzling, and back-glare can be more effectively avoided. This new dimension of precision when it comes to light distribution allows longer use to be made of the partial main-beam lights, increasing safety.
The driver also benefits from improved illumination of the road. Compared with the systems prevalent on the market today, the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps have up to 2.5 times the partial high-beam light output.
The 2nd generation MULTIBEAM headlamps are instantly recognisable. They provide new and surprising visual highlights with passively illuminated, blue light surfaces. These outline the hallmark E-Class “torch effect” daytime running lamps and side lights and, even when low beam or high beam is switched on, create a pleasant blue setting for a fascinating look. This design does not irritate other road users in the slightest thanks to the clever arrangement of the lighting elements. It gives the light design of the E-Class an unmistakable character.
New safety-enhancing functions
As a result of the completely freely configurable high-resolution light distribution, it is possible for the first time to implement all high and low-beam functions of the Intelligent Light System in entirely digital mode and without any mechanical actuators in the new E-Class. As a world first, the dynamic cornering light function is purely electronic. In addition a wealth of new, adaptive light functions are possible which will render night-time driving even safer for both the driver and other road users.
The newly developed adverse weather light function reduces reflections on the oncoming lane when it is raining by specifically dimming individual LEDs and actively helps prevent indirect dazzling of oncoming traffic.
The city light function provides the driver with particularly wide light distribution when driving at low speeds and on lit roads in built-up areas, brightly illuminating difficult-to-see pavements and danger zones.
Data from the navigation system is not only used for the roundabout light function, familiar from the CLS, but can also now be used to detect junctions and motorways and to adapt the light distribution automatically to suit these.
Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus has also been further optimised: thanks to a larger number of pixels, the dark areas in the light distribution are more precise and dynamic than ever before in partial main-beam mode, and the main beam can be used for longer than before.
A camera on the windscreen supplies the system with the information it needs about the constantly changing traffic situation and is also used by other assistance functions. Four control units per vehicle calculate the ideal light pattern 100 times per second and activate all 84 high-performance LEDs in each precision grid module individually.
The added safety provided by the MULTIBEAM LED technology becomes apparent above all in real traffic situations: in contrast to static high-beam systems, some of which have long ranges, MULTIBEAM LED also supports the driver when there are other vehicles in the field illuminated by the headlamps. Because it masks these out of its light distribution specifically within a fraction of a second, it is possible to drive with main beam switched on at all times. This assures the driver of the best possible light performance at all times, without dazzling other road users.
The LED technology used for the MULTIBEAM headlamps offers further advantages: by way of example, the light from the bright LED headlamps is almost the same colour as daylight and therefore in line with normal human perception patterns. Studies have shown that the closer the colour of artificial light is to daylight, the less the strain on the eyes. With a colour temperature of 5500 kelvin, LED light is closer to daylight (6500 K) than xenon headlamps (4200 K). The 84 high-performance LEDs in the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps also help to increase efficiency thanks to their high lumen output/wattage and are designed to last for the entire vehicle lifetime.
Safety benefits of LEDs in tail lights too: brightness rather than glare
The new E-Class will again feature tail lights with the familiar Mercedes-Benz multi-level functionality – functionality that remains unique in the car industry. The brake lights and indicators are operated with varying light intensity, depending on the driving situation and ambient lighting (day/night).
If the Mercedes driver presses the brake pedal while stopped at traffic lights at night, for instance, the brightness of the brake lights will be automatically dimmed to avoid dazzling anyone behind. It goes without saying that the lights still comply with all statutory requirements.
During the development phase, light experts at Mercedes-Benz carried out experiments at a testing ground, simulating real traffic situations. The tail lights of the test vehicle were operated with varying intensity at different times of the day and under different light conditions, and the brightness and density of the light were measured. With the aid of these values, glare at a specified minimum light intensity was reduced to the desired level.