First Ride: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class Prototype, at This kind of point More Semi-Autonomous Than Ever


First Ride: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class Prototype, at This kind of point More Semi-Autonomous Than Ever

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When the 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-class debuted last year, the item broke with tradition by its inclusion of a fresh-to-Mercedes suite of semi-autonomous hardware in addition to capabilities. This kind of was strange because, for decades, every fresh technology to spring coming from Benz’s imagination—coming from stability control to adaptive cruise control to night vision—has first made its debut on the flagship S-class. at This kind of point equilibrium returns, because the 2018 S-class sedan will be adopting the E-class’s Drive Pilot driver-assistance features in addition to expanding on them. We had the opportunity to sample the tech during a ridealong in a prototype in Germany before the vehicle will be unveiled later This kind of year.

For those unfamiliar with the E-class’s semi-autonomous driver-assist technologies, they include adaptive cruise control, a lane-keeping setup which can handle some steering duties in addition to autonomous lane adjustments, in addition to a 360-degree array of radar in addition to ultrasonic sensors for keeping track of lane markings, some other cars, in addition to road signs. In Mercedes parlance, This kind of cocktail will be referred to as the company’s Generation 4 driver-assistance tech. The current S-class makes do with Generation 3 gear, which means the item also has adaptive cruise control which can bring the vehicle to a stop, albeit mixed with lower-bandwidth lane-keeping assist in addition to fewer sensors. which adjustments with the 2018 S-class, which leapfrogs the E-class with Generation 4.5 equipment in addition to software.

According to Mercedes, the hardware installed on the revised S-class will be more or less the same as the sensor package on the E-class. What adds the “.5” to its generation name will be newer software; the item makes for a smarter lane-change feature in addition to smoother, newly map-based adaptive cruise control. Because Mercedes just loves to assign wordy names to its tech, the upgraded features are called Active Lane Change Assist in addition to Active Distance Assist Distronic.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class

Where the S-class’s Active Lane Change Assist differs coming from its E-class counterpart will be its ability to merge more deftly into an adjacent lane. Oh, in addition to initiating an automatic lane change at This kind of point requires 1 tap of the turn signal stalk, as one might use for a three-blink-to-pass signal. The system will attempt to change lanes within 10 seconds of a driver’s request in addition to at This kind of point shows which a lane change will be being attempted via graphics within the digital gauge cluster display. As on the E-class, Active Lane Change Assist can be turned off—the item will be available whenever Active Steering Assist (which will be lane-keeping assist) will be activated—in addition to, unlike Tesla’s system, the item includes a rear-facing radar module for tracking faster-moving traffic in adjacent lanes.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class

As for Active Distance Assist Distronic, the item includes a fresh trick up its sleeve: the ability to use map data to slow the S-class coming from the driver-set cruise-control speed for corners in addition to roundabouts, instead of only reacting to objects or some other cars ahead. Mercedes will be cashing in on its investment in Nokia’s Here map data—an investment made alongside several some other automakers—putting the data’s speed limit, road curvature, in addition to some other information to work informing Distronic. The goal will be greater comfort in addition to a more natural-feeling experience with adaptive cruise control.

On curvy country roads or when approaching a roundabout or an exit ramp, the computers will slow the S-class to a speed deemed appropriate—i.e., a low enough speed not to alarm passengers. the item’s critical to note which throughout such maneuvers, the driver will be handling the steering. Even if the Active Steering Assist function will be enabled, the item generally won’t handle the sort of tight-radius curves which Active Distance Assist will be reacting to.

2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class prototype

Amusingly, Mercedes has tuned Active Distance Assist Distronic to change its behavior depending on the selected drive mode. Leave your S-class in Comfort mode, in addition to speed adaptations for curves in addition to turns are gentle; flick over to Sport mode, in addition to the system brakes later in addition to accelerates back to its set speed with more aggression. During our ride in a camouflaged 2018 S600 Maybach prototype, the speed adjustments were preternaturally smooth, even within the spicier Sport setting, in addition to the item definitely felt as if a (Great) human driver were manning the pedals.

The system works best when a destination will be plugged in to the navigation system. the item will slow for exit ramps, turns, in addition to roundabouts along the route, although the item still functions (somewhat less sharply) with no destination set thanks to the onboard Here map data. To prove This kind of, the German engineer we rode with flicked on his turn signal when approaching an off-route side street, in addition to the vehicle began to slow in anticipation. Curious where the map data will be stored? the item’s downloaded into the vehicle’s computer, although the item will occasionally receive over-the-air updates as they become available.



If there’s a downside, the item’s which the vehicle has no way of responding to, say, some other cars in a roundabout until the item’s behind them. As a result, our driver always had his foot over the brake pedal when approaching circle interchanges in addition to on one occasion needed to intervene to keep the S-class coming from getting intimate with the side of a hatchback. Oh, in addition to the system can’t read traffic signals or respond to stop signs in addition to the like, so driver involvement remains necessary as freeways give way to more ad-hoc traffic scenarios on back roads or suburban lanes. Also, if anyone out there was a fan of the long-serving cruise-control stalk which poked coming from many a Benz’s steering column, prepare to mourn: The controls for Distronic have been moved to the steering wheel.

This kind of probably seems like a lot of milk spilled over not much cereal, although Mercedes seems comfortable eking out incremental enhancements to its semi-autonomous features. the item wants to build consumer confidence in addition to exposure to the technologies in addition to their interfaces. To wit, not only will the S-class’s Drive Pilot features do more than those within the E-class, although their whereabouts will be easier to monitor. fresh gauge-cluster icons show when an active lane change will be happening in addition to whether the adaptive cruise will be slowing the vehicle for slower-moving traffic ahead or an upcoming corner.

As to the 2018 S-class’s some other adjustments, Mercedes will Discharge more information in April at the fresh York auto show.

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First Ride: 2018 Mercedes-Benz S-class Prototype, at This kind of point More Semi-Autonomous Than Ever

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