Daimler brings E-Class one step closer to autonomous driving

December 10, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With the next version of its Mercedes-Benz E class due next spring, Daimler will introduce what it calls Active Lane Change Assist. This system brings drivers another step closer to autonomous driving b supporting the driver in changing lanes on multi-lane roads.

Having introduced Blind Spot Assist (2006) and Active Blind Spot Assist with automatic braking (2010), Daimler now adds active steering. The move aims at increasing the safety when changing lanes at high speed. In Germany, about 15 percent of all accidents occur between vehicles travelling into the same direction. Changing lanes is particularly critical on Germany’s high-speed Autobahn system. The Active Lane Change Assist will offload the driver in such critical situations.

The system steps in as soon as the turn indicator is activated for more than two seconds. If the sensors do not detect any other vehicles in the relevant safety zone, the system steers the vehicle into the adjacent lane, be it the right one or the left one. The system processes data delivered by the long-range radar and the stereo camera. Both forward-looking sensors monitor the area ahead of the vehicle. The decisive data however are provided by multimode radar systems that check the area to the rear and the sides. All sensors take into account the speed and direction of any relevant vehicles detected. The driver’s task is reduced to monitor the lane-changing process.

The criteria for the operation of the system are

  1. turn indicator is activated for more than two seconds;
  2. the unoccupied zone detection system allows a change of the lane within three seconds;
  3. steering pilot is activated;
  4. the vehicle is travelling on a multi-lane, motorway-like roads. This condition is detected y the navigation module, part or the COMAND Online system;
  5. a separate adjacent lane is detected by the stereo camera;
  6. the vehicle travels at a speed between 80 and 180 kmph;
  7. If the sensors detect an obstacle or fail to identify the lane markings the lane changing process is aborted. The driver can override the system by countersteering.

For Germany, the relevant authorities have already issued a provisional approval for the system. The application procedure for EU wide approval is under way, the