Sunday, March 15, 2009

Video-Based Safety Features For Mercedes

Mercedes video safety

The future of safety features involves preventing accidents before they happen. Over the past couple of years, the introduction of radar-based technologies has ushered in features such as adaptive cruise control that automatically slows the vehicle down to keep a steady distance. From there, radar technology has been applied to collision mitigation systems, such as those brought out by Volvo and Mercedes-Benz which are capable of warning the driver of an impending accident, and if necessary can apply the brakes, close the windows, adjust the seatbacks and more to lessen the damage. Other systems feature what’s called a “lane keeping assist” which monitors the lines on the road, and can warn, or actively prevent the car from unintentionally drifting. Mercedes’ forthcoming version will employ vibrations through the steering wheel and single-wheel braking to keep the vehicle on course.

Mercedes video safety

Mercedes-Benz is looking at taking collision mitigation one step further with new video-based systems designed specifically to reduce the number of collision incidents at low speeds, around intersections and construction zones, areas where a large number of accidents occur. The cameras also have the ability to measure the size of the vehicle that’s on course for impact, and can therefore cater the amount of protection to offer. For instance, the Mercedes-Benz Pre-Safe collision mitigation system would choose a much more forceful setting on the airbag if the impending collision was with a large truck than it would with a subcompact vehicle, taking into account speed and angle of course. One such application is preventing vehicle-bicycle accidents; the system is effective at not only picking up quick moving bicycles, but can detect and warn the driver of an accident with a two to three second gain, which is often enough time for the driver to identify and react.

Mercedes video safety

Another use for the camera system is to monitor and “read” road signs. The system could then send a warning to the instrument panel registering speed limits, yield signs and so forth. Eventually, the system is said to even be able to “stop” when it reads a sign that says “stop”, should the driver not heed it. So far, these features enable the car to not only “react” better, but could there be a day when cars also “speak” to each other?

The final feature, and arguably the most advanced yet is Mercedes’ car-to-car communication systems which use a WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) to communicate and relay information from car to car. Information gathered by a car’s ABS and ESP sensors would be able to detect slippery surfaces, and send that information to other Mercedes-Benzes nearby. Now, since not everyone drives a Mercedes-Benz, the company is looking to set up roadside beacons that can transmit and send such information.

Little by little, Mercedes-Benz is making vehicles safer by interacting with the driver, and by reducing the chance for human error to exist. Like it or not, these systems should help make the roads just that little bit safer.

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