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Mercedes-Benz unveils next-generation van safety technology solutions

Currently in their final testing stages, the technologies will be gradually introduced in the coming months and years, either as standard or optional features.The systems include the Crosswind Assist technology, which is said to almost completely offset the effects of crosswind on vehicles.

The system is based on the standard-fitted Electronic Stability Program (ESP) and uses sensors for measuring the yaw rate and lateral acceleration. If it detects crosswind and gusts, the automated system brakes specific wheels on the windward side of the van, enabling the vehicle to steer in a corrective manner and prevent it from drifting. The safety system, which is specifically adapted to each vehicle model and surface area, is activated at speeds of 80km/h (50mph) and more and also takes into account other factors such as vehicle speed, load weight, cargo location, and the driver’s steering behaviour. If the driver manually counteract crosswinds, his or her steering movements will automatically override the system.

In addition, Mercedes is introducing its new radar-based proximity warning assistant, which is activated at speeds of 30km/h (19mph) or more and helps prevent severe rear-end collisions by warning the driver with a flashing light when the van gets too close to another vehicle and increasing the flashes and using an audible alarm if the distance is further reduced.

In the event of a possible collision, the proximity warning assistant also activates another new system: Brake Assist pro. This adaptive brake assistant calculates the force needed for pinpoint emergency braking. Drivers activate the brake assistant by forcefully stepping on the brake pedal and the system can raise or lower the braking force in accordance with the data provided by the proximity warning assistant.

Mercedes is also introducing a new Blind Spot Assist system. This is activated at speeds of 30km/h (19mph) or more and uses four short-range radar sensors to detect any cars or motorcycles in the driver’s blind spot while travelling. A red warning signal then lights up in the exterior mirror on the side where the vehicle is located. An alarm is also sounded if the safety system detects that the driver wants to change lanes despite the warning.

Lane Keeping Assist is another new technology that will be added to Mercedes-Benz vans in the future and will warn drivers of unintended lane changes. The system uses a mounted camera behind the windshield to film the lane up ahead. If the connected electronic control unit detects that the van is about to cross the lane markings without the use of a turn indicator, an alarm will notify the driver.

Lane Keeping Assist is active at speeds of 60km/h (37mph) or more and reacts not only to white lane markings but also to the yellow markings used at construction sites. Drivers can switch the assistance system off when it suits them.

Another new addition is the Highbeam Assist system – a first for the van sector –which switches the highbeams on and off in accordance with the present situation. If the onboard camera detects oncoming traffic or two-track vehicles up ahead, the system automatically switches the headlights from highbeam to lowbeam. The camera also registers if the street lights are switched on, in which case it automatically deactivates the highbeams — for example when driving through towns or villages.

Highbeam Assist operates at speeds of 60km/h (37mph) or more and will be offered for halogen as well as bi-xenon headlights.

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