The new Driving Assistance package for new 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will include "Active Lane Change Assist" when the saloon goes on sale in spring 2016. It was found out that almost 15 percent of road accidents in Germany occur between two vehicles going in the same direction, with nearly 20 percent of them stemming from collisions while changing lanes.
Mercedes-Benz has found ways to avoid such accidents, and has been offering Blind Spot Assist since 2007. This system was made even more advanced and was named Active Blind Spot Assist in 2010. Active Blind Spot Assist uses radar and cameras to help the driver in changing, like when there is a need to overtake other vehicles on multi-lane roads, thereby helping prevent collisions.
Active Blind Spot Assist provides both visual and audible warnings when the turn indicator is activated and could even apply brake autonomously to keep the vehicle on the lane. Working alongside the Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, this new Active Lane Change Assist system helps the driver to change lanes at a safer pace, allowing the driver to focus on the road and help prevent unwanted collisions.
Since Active Lane Change Assist is a sub-function of Drive Pilot, it forms part of the new Driving Assistance package from Mercedes-Benz that will debut in the new E-Class next year. This system steers the new E-Class into the adjacent lane when the turn indicator – left or right -- has been activated for over two seconds. Active Lane Change Assist will have the E-Class change lanes autonomously only when the saloon's sensors do not detect any vehicles in the relevant safety zone, and the driver just needs to sit back and relax and just monitor the lane change.
Sensors include a long-range radar system with a stereo camera monitor taking care of the areas in front of the E-Class while multi-mode radar sensors handle the areas to the rear and sides. Both sensors factor-in the speed of detected vehicles.
For Active Lane Change Assist to successfully execute its functions, there are criteria that need to be met. For instance, the turn indicator has been activated for over two seconds and the unoccupied zone detection system allows a lane change within three seconds.
Likewise, the Steering Pilot should be activated and the vehicle is travelling on speeds between 80 km/h and 180 km/h. Moreover, the E-Class should be on multi-lane motorway-like roads, as detected through the navigation module integrated into COMAND Online and there should be a separate adjacent lane as detected via stereo camera.
There are conditions, however, that would prompt the system to abort the active lane change like when the sensors detect a certain obstacle or no longer sees lane markings on the roads. The system will also abort when the driver counter-steers or Steering Pilot is switched off.
Mercedes-Benz has already received provisional approval for Active Lane Change Assist from Germany's Federal Motor Vehicle and Transport Authority and has commenced the application procedure for approval for driving on roads across the European Union.
Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, remarked that the new E-Class now fulfills customer wishes in the business class segment.
He said that DRIVE PILOT and Active Lane Change Assist make sure that driving remains enjoyable over monotonous and overfilled stretches of road by optionally supporting the driving with tasks often deemed as “not pleasurable.”