Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive takes ADAS to the Champions League

16th Jun 2017
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On the way to full automation, cars are getting a whole lot smarter and Mercedes-Benz is leading the way when it comes to ADAS features. The 2017 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is packed with technology, and our latest Intelligent Drive feature is the safest and most intelligent ADAS system currently on the market.

The sensors that Intelligent Drive uses, including radar, camera, ultrasonic, GPS and others, are like the eyes and ears of a human body. The respective signals are sent to the brain where they are connected with each other, experience is added and all available information is used to calculate a specific action. As with humans, the most intelligent use of all available sensor information in the brain often makes the difference. A soccer player might be just as strong and fast as another, but intelligently running to where the ball is going to be will be decisive as to who will win the match. 

Making sense of the data shared by the sensors is what enables all ADAS systems, but how intelligently the systems are designed varies a lot. Our claim is to offer the safest and most intelligent system on the market, especially now that we use map data from HERE in order to adapt our assistance systems for specific driving situations.

Another important factor behind the launch of the most advanced ADAS systems is that we program the software for the assistance functions in-house. This means we are able to implement new and innovative ideas very quickly.

Taking Intelligent Drive to the Champions League 

The new S-Class raises Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive to the Champions League. We are approaching the goal of automated driving more purposefully and faster than many people suspect. From this autumn, the new S-Class will be able to support its driver considerably better than all systems that have been available to date.

We have expanded the scope of automated driving functions in line with practical needs and now provide further enhanced, tangible customer benefits on virtually all types of road. Intelligent Drive now makes extensive use of map and navigation data from HERE to adapt the driving behavior accordingly.

Nevertheless, I would like to stress that even with the most advanced system on the market today, offered in our 2017 S-Class, the driver is still in control at all times. Intelligent Drive is still a Level 2 System, but it’s much more advanced than the first Level 2 System that we introduced in the 2013 S-Class.

How Intelligent Drive knows how to react

Going back to the example of the soccer player: imagine a very skilled and intelligent player, who also knows what he cannot see yet. If he knew where the other players would run to, he would be unstoppable. So our system not only prevents “fouls” on the street with our Active-Brake Assist, it also knows where there is room to play, meaning how the road will turn behind a summit thanks to maps from HERE.

We use this information to adjust the speed of the car accordingly by combining the map data with what the camera sees and the radar detects. The combined effect of this intelligent system is something that’s hard to describe and is best experienced in person, just like the emotions when your favorite player scores a goal. 

Before we included map data, we were already able to detect other road users like cars, trucks, bicyclists, pedestrians and so on along with lane markings. We have improved the system’s algorithms further to be able to offer steering assist even when no clear lane markings are present and apply emergency breaking in more and more situations. 

We wanted to extend the functions even further and we’re now able to do this with precise map data. We now know the angle of the curves ahead even when they are not visible to the car’s camera. We also know exactly where exits, turns and roundabouts are. Adapting to these details on your journey is extremely comfortable and also enhances safety.

I can’t share the exact dates that we’ll start to see advanced ADAS technology filtering down into our smaller models, that would ruin the surprise! But let me just say this much: unlike a soccer player, we can transform the skills of our cars to “other players on the field” a lot more easily, and there are lots of candidates warming up on the sideline getting ready to play on the field.