DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist and Stop&Go Pilot in the S- and E-Class (since 2013)
This basic radar-based function in the new E- and the new S-Class (since 2013) has now been enhanced by the addition of a Steering Assist with Stop&Go Pilot, which helps drivers to stay centred in their lane by generating the appropriate steering torque when travelling on a straight road and even in gentle bends.
The stereo camera recognises lane markings as well as vehicles driving ahead together with their spatial positioning, and relays this information to the electric steering assistance system. When driving at slow speeds, e.g. in congested traffic, the Steering Assist can use the vehicle ahead as a means of orientation, even when there are no clear lane markings visible. So the system offers semi-autonomous following up to 30 km/h.
The system fuses the data gleaned from the stereo camera and the radar sensors, calculates any reactions required, and then regulates the vehicle's linear speed as requirements dictate by controlling engine power, transmission and brakes, as well as actuating the electric steering for lateral vehicle guidance. As a result, the system is able to further enhance driving comfort and substantially ease the driver’s workload in many traffic situations.
DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist can be activated as before with a selector lever on the steering wheel in a speed range from 0-200 km/h, now also with the vehicle standing still and no vehicle moving ahead of it. Any speed between 30 km/h and 200 km/h can be selected as the desired cruising speed. The driver starts off in this case by pulling the DISTRONIC PLUS lever or tapping the accelerator. A green steering wheel symbol appears in the instrument cluster to indicate when the Stop&Go Pilot is operating while DISTRONIC PLUS is activated.
The sensors can detect whether the driver's hands are actually on the steering wheel. If the system recognises that the driver has taken their hands off the steering wheel while the car is moving, depending on the situation, the detected surroundings and the speed, a visual warning is issued in the instrument cluster first; then a warning signal sounds and the Steering Assist is deactivated. This is additionally indicated by changing the steering wheel symbol from green to white. The linear control action remains unaffected by this and continues to be available.
Increased performance capabilities of the basic DISTRONIC PLUS function
The performance capabilities of the basic DISTRONIC PLUS function have been increased once again. Now, the system is able to brake at a rate of up to 5 m/s² without any intervention from the driver. If the "S" drive mode button is pressed, the rate of acceleration increases, too. Vehicle acceleration is also far more dynamic if the driver signals a wish to overtake by switching on the indicators, assuming the adjacent lane is clear.
By combining the radar and camera data, DISTRONIC PLUS is now also able to detect both vehicles cutting in and vehicles ahead, and vehicles ahead of them, in one's own lane and in adjacent lanes, and take any necessary action promptly. This can prevent, for example, illegal overtaking on the inside lane on motorways and similar multi-lane highways by adapting the speed to that of vehicles in the outside lanes (at speeds above 85 km/h), especially when a tailback begins to dissolve and in streams of traffic. At lower speeds, permissible overtaking on the inside lane with a maximum speed differential of 20 km/h is possible.
The driver can always override DISTRONIC PLUS with Steering Assist. For instance if they signal with their indicators that they wish to change lanes, the lateral assistance remains passive as long as it takes to change lanes.