Now more than ever, mobility has become an indispensable part of everyday life in modern societies, and people are therefore spending more and more time on the move — especially in cars. With this in mind, Mercedes-Benz assigns especially high priority to making the driving experience as comfortable and safe as possible.

An important contribution is made by systems that ease the stress on drivers and thus improve their physiological well-being. Particularly stressful for drivers is having to constantly repeat the same actions in traffic jams: start to move — roll slowly — apply the brakes — stop — start again and so forth.

Back in 2006, Mercedes-Benz introduced DISTRONIC PLUS, the world’s first proximity and speed control system, which operates even when the car is standing still — and greatly reduces stress on the driver in congested traffic. DISTRONIC Plus regulates the distance from the car in front even at very low speeds, all the way to a standstill. When the car in front begins moving again, a tap on the gas pedal or the cruise control lever is all it takes for DISTRONIC PLUS to begin again to regulate the speed and distance from the driver up ahead.

DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Assistant: Cars that drive themselves in traffic jams
With its new Traffic Jam Assistant feature in the F 800 Style, Mercedes-Benz has become the world’s first automaker to implement a system that is capable of automatically following the vehicle in front of it into curves. At speeds of up to about 40 km/h, the system takes care of both longitudinal and transverse movements so that drivers do not have to steer themselves. The driver can just sit back and relax — with hands on the steering wheel. Drivers can, of course, override the system at any time. Sensitive sensors notice if the driver moves the steering wheel, thus automatically deactivating the system’s lateral control function. When the 40 km/h mark is exceeded, the steering torque that keeps the vehicle in its lane is gradually reduced to a point at which the system smoothly disengages.

For the Traffic Jam Assistant feature, the Mercedes engineers supplemented the tried and tested DISTRONIC PLUS with proximity radar sensor by adding the “eyes” of a stereo camera. The camera and the electronic system monitor and analyze the area in front of the vehicle out to a distance of about 50 meters. The camera recognizes lane markings as well as the vehicle in front, which is also measured in terms of its position and width. As long as the vehicle in front is moving within its lane, the F 800 Style follows the vehicle by means of the measurement data from the camera. But should the driver in front move out of the lane or initiate a turn to the right or left, the assistance system limits the lateral control function to keep the F 800 Style in its own lane. In heavy traffic the Traffic Jam Assistant significantly boosts the driver’s comfort by reducing the stress of driving. The system thus contributes to the further improvement of active safety because the driver can remain alert longer and retain the ability to react quickly.

Source/Pictures: Daimler AG – MB Passion