The 2011 Mercedes-Benz CL-Class was just loosed on the web two weeks ago, but there's more to this freshened luxury coupe than meets the eye. In fact, a lot of the best stuff is hidden away in its computer.
Using advanced radar- and camera-based sensors, the CL-Class features a number of "active safety" features, which let the vehicle take action to help mitigate or even prevent accidents and distracted driving. Mercedes-Benz calls these technologies by a range of names, some familiar (Pre-Safe brake, Attention Assist, Night View Assist Plus with pedestrian detection) and some not so familiar.
The two newest active safety technologies from Mercedes-Benz are Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist. The lane-keeper does exactly what it sounds like: it gently corrects the car's direction to help keep the car in its current lane. But that's after it alerts the driver that the car is veering out of its lane by vibrating the steering wheel to simulate rumble strips. If the driver doesn't respond, Active Lane Keeping Assist nudges the car back into the lane by lightly braking the wheels on one side of the car. Similar systems exist at other manufacturers, but the 2011 CL-Class marks the debut of Mercedes' version.
Second is the Active Blind Spot Assist. Using close-range radar sensors, the car monitors for vehicles in the area generally not visible to the driver through the rear-view mirrors. When it detects a vehicle in the blind spot, it lights a yellow warning in the side-view mirror. Again, many vehicles feature a similar safety warning system, but Mercedes takes it to the next step. If the computer determines the driver is getting dangerously close to the vehicle in the blind spot, it will again use the brakes on one side of the car to redirect the CL-Class out of the collision path.
These two new technologies will soon filter through most of the rest of the Mercedes-Benz range, following their debut on the new CL-Class. The 2011 CL-Class goes on sale later this fall.