2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class spy shotsEnlarge Photo
Safety has become a key selling point for family vehicles in all price ranges, and modern sensor technology allows cars to intervene when the driver’s attention lapses. Volvo was one of the first automakers to incorporate a pedestrian and animal detection system into its vehicles, and Nissan upped the game by adding obstacle avoidance.
Even mainstream cars like the Ford Fusion now include a wide array of technology-based safety systems, such as adaptive cruise control, a driver alert system and a lane-keeping system. It should come as no surprise, then, that the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S Class will come with an impressive array of available safety features in addition to its semi-autonomous driving capability.
As Automotive News Europe (subscription required) reports, Mercedes-Benz will begin offering a Continental-developed automatic-braking and pedestrian-detection system for high-end models in the very near future.
Using both a stereo camera and radar, the system will offer collision detection at a range of up to 200 meters (656 feet). The camera portion is more accurate, but functions only out to 35 meters (105 feet), so for maximum effectiveness the systems work in tandem, with the radar spotting obstacles and the camera identifying them.
Emergency Brake Assist (EBA) can bring the car to a stop at speeds of up to 70 km/h (44 mph) when an obstacle is recognized, even without driver intervention. Should the system determine there’s insufficient time to stop, Emergency Steer Assist (ESA) automatically maneuvers the car around the obstacle, assuming there’s room to do so.
Euro NCAP rules will begin rating cars on collision warning and avoidance beginning in 2014, and will factor in pedestrian injuries beginning in 2016. Expect to see more such systems rolled out, across all price points, in the coming years.