The next step on the road to autonomous driving
Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz will expand the new Driving Assistance package of the future E-Class for the market launch in spring with “Active Lane Change Assist” and will thereby make the business class saloon car even more intelligent. The radar- and camera-based assistance system supports the driver in changing lanes, e.g. when overtaking on multi-lane roads. The system thus offers a significant further increase in comfort and can help to prevent collisions.
Nearly 15 percent of all accidents on German roads happen between two vehicles travelling in the same direction, almost 20 percent of them resulting from collisions when changing lanes.
To defuse such risky situations, Mercedes-Benz has been offering Blind Spot Assist since 2007, which was further advanced into Active Blind Spot Assist in 2010. Apart from the visual and additional audible warning when the turn indicator is activated, Active Blind Spot Assist is able to intervene with one-sided brake applications to keep the vehicle in its lane.
Mercedes-Benz now takes another major step forward with Active Lane Change Assist. As part of DRIVE PILOT, it reduces the pressure on the driver in typical lane-changing situations, because the driver is thus better able to focus on what is happening on the road around them. Also, as an addition to Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, the system helps to prevent accidents.
“The new E-Class is even more in tune with the wishes of customers in the business class segment. With the help of numerous innovations, there is no loss of driving pleasure, even on monotonous and overfilled stretches of road. DRIVE PILOT and Active Lane Change Assist optionally support the motorist with driving tasks that are often not pleasurable,” says Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG with responsibility for Group Research and Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
Automatic lane change
When the driver activates the turn indicator for more than two seconds to change lanes, Active Lane Change Assist steers the new E-Class into the adjacent lane. The vehicle will only change lanes autonomously if the sensors do not detect any vehicles in the relevant safety zone. It is inconsequential whether the car wants to change to the left lane for overtaking or wants to return to the right-hand lane. A long-range radar system and the stereo camera monitor the area in front of the vehicle, while multi-mode radar sensors permanently check the area to the rear and sides. Both factor-in the speed of detected vehicles in the vicinity. The driver themselves need only monitor the lane change. For Germany, the Federal Motor Vehicle and Transport Authority has already issued provisional approval for Active Lane Change Assist. The application procedure for EU-wide approval has been started.
The criteria for the operation of Active Lane Change Assist are:
- operation of the turn indicator for longer than two seconds
- the unoccupied zone detection system allows a lane change within three seconds
- Steering Pilot is activated
- vehicle travelling on multi-lane, motorway-like roads, detected via the navigation module integrated into COMAND Online
- separate adjacent lane, detected via stereo camera
- speed between 80 and 180 km/h
The active lane change is aborted by the system when the sensor system detects an obstacle, no longer sees lane markings, the driver countersteers or Steering Pilot is switched off.
Active Lane Change Assist is a sub-function of DRIVE PILOT and thus a component of the Driving Assistance package from Mercedes-Benz, which celebrates its world premiere in the new E-Class next year. The new E-Class will be launched in Germany in spring 2016.