When it comes to the idea of autonomous drivers, a lot of car enthusiasts tend to scoff and express their displeasure- almost immediately. But what about a car that isn't necessarily meant to be driven? The car in question isn't a supercar or a sports sedan, but rather a long luxury limousine: it's the new S-Class facelift that we'll soon see making its way to markets around the world. And one of the things Mercedes-Benz is keen to highlight with this new car is the inclusion of a whole host of Intelligent Drive systems.
Intelligent Drive refers to a numbr of active systems that help the driver stay out of trouble when on the road. When you're riding in the back seat of an S-Class, you'd want your driver to have the deck stacked in their favour- and these systems both pre-empt collisions and help to avoid or mitigate potential damage. Most evolved of these systems is Active Emergency Stop Assist, which helps to bring the S-Class to a prompt stop when unexpected obstacles present themselves.
But there's more than that. Active Emergency Stop is a system that tries to reduce driver error, but it is the other systems that help to keep the driver's hands off the wheels and pedals. Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC keeps the car at a steady distance from the traffic in front, adjusting speed accordingly when it's required on a route specific basis, through the use of a complex radar system. This works in tandem with Active Speed Limit Assist that automatically brings speeds up and down based on local traffic laws.
Active Steering Assist is where we see the beginnings of full autonomy. The system helps to steer the car along the route you've selected, avoiding obstacles and adjusting for bends and corners as well. If you have the will to leave it well and truly alone, it could most likely pilot you all the way to your final destination. Active Lane Change Assist also helps the driver when making necessary lane changes, but the system shows potential flexibility in an autonomous application for when you need to move in and out of the fast lane or need to take an exit.
These systems have been shown in various products from various brands, but the up-and-coming S-Class will sport the most refined and complex iteration of these systems yet. It's good news if you're a driver for one of these behemoths, as it'll make your job a whole lot easier. It will even park itself if you need it to.