The next-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class will feature a raft of innovative safety features ranging from camera-actuated braking to an autonomous collision avoidance system.
Much of the S-Class’ safety technology centres on the use of cameras for close-range pedestrian/obstacle detection as opposed to radar sensors. The rationale is that camera-based technologies, which analyse visual cues to potential hazards before on-board systems determine the associated risks, are more efficient than radar-based systems alone.
The camera-based system in the S-Class is the first of its kind. Developed by Continental, The camera scanning system has an effective range of 35 metres and is supplemented by a radar scanner with a range of 200 metres. The pedestrian detection system prevents the unnecessary brake activation that affects many solely radar-based systems – even if they are partially obscured by parked vehicles. In addition to brake activation, the system also features an Emergency Steer module that, in milliseconds, is capable of calculating the best evasive action line before assisting driver inputs to the electric steering system.
Another safety innovation is a rear-mounted multi-sensor that detects any car rapidly approaching the stationary S-Class. Should a vehicle be detected approaching too quickly, the system activates the hazard lights to catch the other drivers attention and activates the brakes so that should a collision occur, the S-Class doesn’t hit the rear of the car in front.
The Emergency Brake Assist system will also be beefed up for the new car, moving its operating speed up from 19 km/h to 70 km/h, while the enhanced Attention Assist module will be able to detect driver fatigue between speeds of 59 km/h and 199 km/h.
Although Mercedes is doing its utmost to keep the styling of the new S-Class under wraps, the latest clutch of spy photos give some indication of what to expect. The overall shape incorporates flowing, rounded flanks contrasted by more aggressive, angular front and rear facias. The single-piece headlamps have been heavily camouflaged, but it has been suggested that they could undergo a similar treatment to those of the recently introduced SL (read integrated LED ‘eyelid’ strip elements).
The cabin will feature the extensive use of virtual instrumentation projected via TFT displays and an updated Comand infotainment system with a greater complement of shortcut buttons joining the centre console-mounted control wheel.