Earlier in the year, it was revealed that Michael Schumacher, a seven-time Formula One world champion and former driver for the Mercedes AMG F1 team, would be helping to develop Mercedes-Benz road cars. It turns out one of the first Mercedes cars to be worked on by Schuey is the all-new 2015 C-Class, which debuts next month at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show and should be in showrooms by the fall.

Schumacher was down in Sindelfingen, Germany recently to test some of the safety systems of the new C-Class, particularly those group under Mercedes’ Intelligent Drive heading, which he is also an ambassador for. Intelligent Drive is the umbrella heading for Mercedes’ networked assistance systems that relieve driver workload and improve traffic safety.

Intelligent Drive systems on the 2015 C-Class include a crash prevention system with active braking; advanced cruise control with Mercedes’ autonomous Steering Assist feature; cross traffic  and blind spot monitoring; and finally lane keeping assist. All of the systems rely on a new stereo camera and a series of multi-stage radar sensors.

Note, Mercedes still wants the driver to be in control as much as possible. So in most situations, the driver will receive clear warnings ahead of time before any autonomous systems take action, such as for the braking or steering when an impact is imminent.

When testing the systems, some of the questions faced by Schumacher included: How rapidly and for how long should visual warnings be? How intensive should the acoustic warnings be? And at what point should the autonomous systems intervene?

"Nobody is able to give 100% concentration all the time over a longer period to cope with the car and traffic situation,” Schumacher said in a statement. "Assistance systems are never distracted and never get tired--they can save lives."

For more on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz C-Class, including photos, check out our previous spy shots report.


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