MERCEDES-BENZ INTRODUCES "AUTOMATIC LANE CHANGE" FUNCTION FOR EUROPEAN MARKET
>> New feature enables automatic overtaking of slower vehicles
With the "Automatic Lane Change" function, Mercedes-Benz will be offering a further intelligent development of its driving assistance systems in the SAE-Level 2 range for Europe into the future – often also called Level 2+. The company is currently working on adapting the function to European traffic situations. The market launch is scheduled to coincide with delivery of the first units of the new E-Class. Automatic Lane Change is supported on motorway-like roads with lane markings and structurally separated directional lanes.
Automatic Lane Change, or ALC, is already available in C-Class, E-Class and S-Class, as well as all Mercedes‑Benz EQ series vehicles being sold in the U.S. and Canada.
The ALC function is an integral part of Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with Active Steering Assist. If a slower vehicle is driving ahead, the vehicle can initiate a lane change itself in the speed range of 80‑140 km/h and overtake completely automatically if lane markings are detected and sufficient clearance is available. The prerequisite is a road with a speed limit and the vehicle being equipped with MBUX Navigation. The sophisticated system requires no further impulse from the driver to execute the automatic lane change.
With active route guidance, the system also assists in navigating exits and changing highways. Since the responsibility in an SAE-Level 2 system remains with the driver even during the automatic lane change, Mercedes-Benz has deliberately decided that hands must remain on the steering wheel. Safety is Mercedes‑Benz's top priority, and this includes ensuring that there is no confusion caused by false expectations, for example.
"For years, Mercedes-Benz has set standards in the fields of automated driving and driver-assistance programs. Now, with DRIVE PILOT, we are offering the first vehicles with internationally certified SAE-Level 3 highly automated driving. Vehicles with DRIVE PILOT have been available in Germany since 2022, and will soon also be available for order in the U.S. We're taking things a step further with parking: INTELLIGENT PARK PILOT is the first certified system in the world for fully-automated, driverless, SAE-Level 4 parking. Many of our customers in Germany are already using it. And now we are offering a more comfortable driving experience with the Automatic Lane Change driver-assist system. It is already available for order in the U.S., and I am happy to announce that we are now able to offer Automatic Lane Change in Europe, too. That is how Mercedes‑Benz underscores its position as a pioneer and a technological leader."
Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, Development & Procurement
DISTRONIC with Active Steering Assist helps drivers at speed of up to 210 km/h
In SAE-Level 2 range, Mercedes-Benz relies on Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC with Active Steering Assist in partially automated driving, helping the driver with steering at speeds of up to 210 km/h. The system can be activated on all types of roads. One special feature: at speeds of less than 130 km/h, the steering assistant also works with road markings that are difficult to see. DISTRONIC, meanwhile, automatically regulates speed, adjusting the distance to the vehicle in front and assisting with restarting in stop-and-go traffic.
DRIVE PILOT: System for conditionally automated driving (SAE-Level 3)
With DRIVE PILOT, Mercedes-Benz offers the world's first and only system with internationally valid approval for conditionally automated driving (SAE-Level 3). It enables customers to hand over driving tasks to the system under certain conditions in heavy traffic or congestion situations on suitable sections of freeway currently up to a speed of 60 km/h. This means customers regain valuable time and are able to concentrate on certain secondary activities. DRIVE PILOT has been available in Germany for S-Class and EQS sedan models since May 2022. Mercedes-Benz has also become the first automaker to receive corresponding approval in the U.S. states of California and Nevada. DRIVE PILOT will be available on the U.S. market as an optional extra for S‑Class and EQS sedan models in model year 2024. The first vehicles are expected to be delivered to customers in late 2023.
Safety of all road users is Mercedes-Benz's top priority
The automaker has always set standards in vehicle safety with technical innovations and is regarded a pioneer of safe "manual" driving. Whether ABS (1978, S-Class W116), driver airbags in combination with belt tensioners (1981, S-Class W126), or ESP® (1995 S-Coupé C140) – Mercedes-Benz was the first to introduce to the market numerous innovations in vehicle safety. The same applies to driving assistance systems: Mercedes‑Benz was the first to introduce the DISTRONIC proximity control system (1998, S-Class W220), which is now an SAE-Level 1 system. The brand with the three-pointed star has been setting standards for SAE-Level 2 functions for many years. too.
Mercedes-Benz also focuses on safety and reliability in conditionally automated driving (SAE-level 3). DRIVE PILOT therefore builds on a systems architecture that makes it possible to safely manage any situation that might arise, at any time. The four core areas of the system's redundant architecture include the braking system, steering, power supply, and parts of the sensor system. Here, in particular, the use of LiDAR is indispensable alongside radar and cameras. Situational deficits in one sensor can be compensated by the characteristics of the others. With this safety-focused system design, Mercedes-Benz is setting entirely new standards in automated driving.