The Mercedes-Benz S-Class has been the flagship for the Three Pointed Star brand and is a mobile palace of luxury, packed with the latest technologies to showcase the best that the brand has to offer.
From there, these pieces of tech would trickle down to other models in the range but that could soon all change.
At a preview event at the company’s headquarters in Stuttgard, Germany, Mercedes-Benz divulged several new technologies which would make its way into the next-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class (W213) which makes it even more feature-loaded than the flagship itself as you’ll soon see.
Many car manufacturers are on the pursuit to implement more advanced autonomous driving capabilities into their vehicles and Mercedes-Benz is no exception. The all-new E-Class will employ an enhanced version of the Intelligent Drive system which made its debut on the S-Class.
This means the E-Class will be able to steer itself for short periods of time which is a function of Distronic Plus adaptive cruise control, although that doesn’t mean you should leave the steering wheel altogether.
The system also works on secondary roads even without lane markings up to speeds of 97km/h. It does this by using an array of sensors, including ultrasonic and radar sensors, a stereo camera facing forward, side and rear cameras to follow the car ahead and scans for structures such as buildings or railing at the side of the road.
On highways, the cruise-control function works in stop-and-go traffic and if the roads are clear, the system will work at speeds up to 193km/h and can adjust the car’s speed upon sighting speed limit signs with its onboard camera or via information taken from the navigation system.
Active Braking Assist & Evasive Steering Assist
Autonomous emergency braking systems have been fitted in cars for some time now but the new E-Class is capable of initiating braking earlier when the car detects that an evasive manoeuvre is no longer possible.
The Active Braking system is also capable of working in more scenarios as well, be it cross traffic entering the lane or a pedestrian walking into your path. Evasive Steering Assist adds more force to the steering to help the driver, who must still provide the steering input, to avoid the pedestrian by swerving the car correctly.
Cell Phone Car Key
Mercedes-Benz say it will transform your smartphone into a key fob for the new E-Class. Once paired up, you will be capable of unlocking the car using the smartphone’s Near Field Communication (NFC) protocol. And once you do enter the car, simply place the phone on the wireless charging pad to enable the car’s ignition and you can set off.
That same smartphone can also be used to park the E-Class to via the Remote Parking Pilot app, which connects to the car via Bluetooth connectivity. The driver will still need to tell the car where to park via the app by tracing a circle on the smartphone and continue doing so to keep the car moving. The system requires the driver to be within 300cm of the car and is capable of parking itself into a perpendicular space, parallel park, or pull forward into a tight garage. The all-new BMW 7 Series is also capable of this neat trick while Land Rover has demonstrated Bluetooth-connected driving as well.
Having cars talk to each other would allow for other driver to be notified of potential road hazards on the route they are taking. The E-Class will showcase this technology of car-to-car communication where a driver can indicate a road hazard with a push of a button, sending the alert to a dedicated computer network which analyses it before sending it out to Mercedes-Benz cars equipped with the technology.
When other drivers receive this information, a warning icon will appear on a map and as the car gets closer to the reported hazard, can audibly warn the driver. The system also work with alerts triggered by airbag deployment or cars with their hazard lights on. In the future, the German car maker is looking to expand the system to receive alerts from emergency vehicles and other manufacturers’ vehicles.
Multibeam LED Lighting
First seen on the Mercedes-Benz CLS last year, the Multibeam LED headlamps on the E-Class now boasts an array of 84 LEDs, each individually controllable to provide high- and low- beams while the curve-following adaptive-lighting functions are now managed electronically and not limited to input from the steering wheel.
Merecedes-Benz’s collision-preparedness technology also receives an update. In the event a car senses a side impact imminent, the active-contour seats will inflate the side bolsters to push the passenger towards the centre of the car to minimise the chance of injury.
The system goes even further with something called Pre-Safe Sound which plays a short interference signal through the audio system which causes a natural reflex in our ears known as the stapedius reflex to cancel out the sounds of the crash. Inflatable seat belts which are currently on the S-Class also make their way into the new E-Class.
The all-new 2016 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is scheduled to make its debut at the Detroit Auto Show in January next year.