The new-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class will add another layer of autonomous driving technology to the luxury German brand’s range when it launches early next year with a new Active Lane Change Assist function.
Active Lane Change Assist uses a series of radars and a stereo camera to support the driver to complete lane changes.
The system will automatically steer the new E-Class into the adjacent lane when the driver activates the turn signal for more than two seconds and the camera and radars don’t detect any vehicles in that lane.
The long-range radar system and the stereo camera monitor the area in front of the vehicle, while multi-mode radar sensors permanently check the area to the sides and the rear, with all factoring in the speed of the detected vehicles.
Active Lane Change Assist will work when the vehicle is travelling on multi-lane roads, detected via the car’s Comand Online navigation system, and at driving speeds between 80-180km/h.
The automatic lane change is aborted by the system if the sensors detect an obstacle or can no longer see the lane markings, the driver counter steers, or Steering Pilot is switched off.
Active Lane Change Assist forms part of the broader Drive Pilot suite of advanced driver-assist systems.
Mercedes claims the system will help prevent accidents by allowing drivers to focus on the road around them rather than concentrating on completing lane changes. The company quotes data that says roughly three per cent of all accidents on German roads result from collisions between vehicles changing lanes.
Active Lane Change Assist is the latest side assistance system from the brand, following the introductions of Blind Spot Assist in 2007 and Active Blind Spot Assist in 2010.
Following the unveiling of its interior earlier this week, the new-generation Mercedes-Benz E-Class will make its international debut at next month’s Detroit auto show before reaching Australian showrooms by the second half of 2016.
Following its debut in the E-Class, Active Lane Change Assist will flow through to other models in the car maker's line-up over the coming years.
Rival Tesla introduced a similar automatic lane change function to its Model S earlier this year.