PREVIEW: Ground-Breaking New Safety Technology Headlines All-New Mercedes-Benz E-Class.
Ahead of its local launch in a couple of weeks, TMR has taken the all-new tenth-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class for a quick spin as the German giant brought out its big guns to highlight the world-first driver assistance technology at its heart.
Mercedes-Benz safety guru Jochen Haab was quick to point out this is not automated driving – the partially automated functions included in the ‘Drive Pilot’ systems have the driver still in-charge.
He says that while autonomous driving is the next step (and that Mercedes-Benz is at the forefront of that technology), human error is still the number one factor contributing to accidents.
“You can’t allow more automation without looking at accident prevention,” he said.
Mr Haab also pointed out that it is enhanced safety features and not autonomous drive systems which earn the maximum five-star safety ratings from international organizations such as NCAP.
But, he said, it’s getting to the stage that you simply cannot install any more airbags inside (there are nine in the all-new E-Class) and the focus is in other areas.
Notwithstanding, as part of its ‘Pre-Safe’ system, the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class is equipped with a B-pillar mounted Impulse Side System which, in a side impact, inflates air chambers to push both the driver and front seat passenger inwards by 50mm so they are further moved from the impact.
Then there is ‘Pre-Safe Sound’ – a brilliant innovation from Mercedes-Benz developed in conjunction with medical experts specialising in hearing. If your infotainment system is switched on (even if the volume is muted) in the event of a crash, a reactionary sound is emitted which protects the workings of the sensitive inner ear.
Why? Because research has shown vehicle occupants commonly suffer hearing damage from the noise of major impacts.
Driver Assistance Plus with Drive Pilot is standard in all versions of the all-new Mercedes-Benz E-Class coming to Australia (it’s optional in other markets), utilising five multi-mode radar systems (with both long and short range functionality) and 12 ultrasound sensors:
With newly-developed Active Lane Change Assist you click and hold the indicator stalk for the intended direction for two seconds and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class automatically steers you into the desired lane. Then you have Steering Pilot to keep you centered in the lane - similar to the Auto Lane Change function of Tesla's Autopilot system
Unlike the Tesla system however, the Active Lane Change Assist also relies on information from side cameras to monitor traffic in other lanes and only operates when no passing cars will be interfered with.
Incidentally, the Steering Pilot system has been improved and, at speeds under 130km/h, is now not reliant on line markings to keep you centered.
Active Brake Assist With Evasive Steering Assist must be triggered by the driver reacting and turning the wheel but then takes over with braking and steering, so, for example, you swerve to miss a pedestrian and safely move to the side to stop.
And should there be a medical or other emergency, which results in the driver not steering the car, Hands-Off Warning And Active Emergency Stop Assist automatically come into play. If the driver does not respond to audible and other alarms, the E-Class will be brought to halt (with steering assistance so it stays in its lane) and the hazard lights are operated.
Active Brake Assist With Cross Traffic Function not only stops you when the car in front stops but now can detect traffic approaching from the side (for example at a roundabout) and autonomously apply the brakes.
Other highlights include Crosswind Assist which automatically responds to buffeting to keep you straight, Multibeam LED headlights (standard on E 300, E 350 d and E 400) each have 84 LEDS and the right and left side operate independently and the Parking Pilot self parking system (parallel or perpendicular with front-in or rear-in) now has a 360-degree camera and rear cross traffic assist which brakes you to a halt automatically if an approaching vehicle is detected.
In addition to the prices for the all-new Mercedes-Benz E 200, E 200d and E 350 d which TMR reported a few weeks back, Mercedes-Benz has announced the ‘E 200 Launch Edition’ which is stickered at $91,780 (plus on-roads) and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, leather-trimmed interior and rear privacy glass.
NOTE: Overseas model shown
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