At Mercedes-Benz, maximum comfort means much more than pleasant driving and high-quality features. All of our comfort solutions are intended to improve the driver´s condition and to consistently relieve driving strain by means of many individual measures that are painstakingly coordinated with one another.
Operating comfort, ergonomics, air conditioning, low noise levels, handling properties, and many other factors affect a driver’s condition behind the wheel, and thus also his or her ability to keep an overview of the traffic situation. After all, only a relaxed driver is also a safe driver. Mercedes-Benz researchers have been investigating this complex topic, called “physiological well-being,” for many years, and Mercedes-Benz has consistently applied their findings to improve its series-production vehicles. As a result, it has been proven that Mercedes drivers stay for a longer time fit and concentrated.
Prime examples of the progress achieved in this field are the carefully designed, intuitive control and display concepts and the intelligent Driving Assistance systems, which turn the automobile into a partner that thinks along with the person behind the wheel.
DISTRONIC — looking ahead and setting the pace
One example is the DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Vehicle Follow Assist introduced in the latest Mercedes-Benz research vehicle, the F 800 Style. The success story of this system began in 1962, when Mercedes-Benz became the first European automaker to offer a mechanical speed control system. This comfort feature was subsequently enhanced so that the cruise control system could keep the vehicle at a constant speed even after the gears were shifted.
In 1998 Mercedes-Benz launched the world’s first “electronic copilot” — the DISTRONIC proximity control — on the market. A radar sensor in the radiator grille enables the system to monitor the traffic situation up to 150 meters in front of the vehicle. If the gap between the car and the vehicle up ahead decreases, the DISTRONIC proximity control automatically decelerates or operates the brakes if necessary.
Mercedes-Benz consistently enhanced this high-performance assistance system and introduced the improved version as the DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control in 2005. By combining the previous DISTRONIC radar (77 GHz) with the newly developed short-range radar (24 GHz), Mercedes was able to further extend the working range of the proximity control system and increase the speed control range from 30-180 km/h to 0-200 km/h. This has the advantage that when the traffic tails back, DISTRONIC PLUS automatically brakes the vehicle to a standstill and then accelerates the car back to the set speed as soon as the traffic situation allows.
In combination with the PRE-SAFE® brake introduced in 2006 and Brake Assist PLUS, DISTRONIC PLUS effectively helps to prevent accidents. For example, DISTRONIC PLUS automatically reduces the car’s speed when the driver approaches the rear of a traffic jam. If the driver fails to respond or reacts too slowly, the smart braking systems can prevent a rear-end collision or at least reduce the severity of the accident.
The world’s first system that allows a car to automatically follow the vehicle ahead of it even when driving along curves — the DISTRONIC PLUS Traffic Jam Vehicle Follow Assist — made its debut in the F 800 Style research vehicle in spring 2010.
This system takes over both the distance control and the steering effort at speeds up to approximately 40 km/h. Drivers can, of course, override the system at any time by turning the steering wheel. 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.
Source: Daimler AG