Mercedes-Benz continues to drop more information about its next-generation E-Class ahead of the car’s world debut at next month’s 2016 Detroit Auto Show. Yesterday, we got our first official look at the car’s interior, which for most trim levels will come with an all-digital, dual-screen display similar to the setup used in the S-Class range.
Today, the German automaker confirmed the car will also come with a system that can execute lane changes automatically. Tesla Motors [NSDQ:TSLA] recently introduced a similar system on its Model S.
Called Active Lane Change Assist, the new system is yet another stepping stone towards a time when cars will be fully autonomous. When driving down a multilane road, to change lanes all the driver has to do is hit the turn signal for more than two seconds. The system will check for a safe opening and then steer the car into the adjacent lane.
The system is designed to work on multilane roads like highways. It works together with the navigation system to ensure it only functions on suitable roads. In addition, it only works at speeds between 50 and 112 mph. In cases where the system detects an obstacle, no longer sees lane markings or the driver countersteers, the lane change will be stopped.
Active Lane Change Assist joins Mercedes’ existing Steering Assist semi-autonomous feature that allows a car to drive along a single lane, even one with some curves, autonomously. With the launch of the new E-Class, these autonomous driving systems will be grouped under the new Drive Pilot function that will be made available in the car's Driving Assistance package.
As mentioned, the new E-Class makes its world debut at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, which starts January 13. The car is expected to reach showrooms next fall, as a 2017 model.