Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi extending active safety features

Numerous innovative systems on new M-Benz E-Class, BMW 7 Series, Audi Q7 and A4

2015/10/19

Summary

Intelligent Drive next Level
Intelligent Drive next Level (semi-autonomous
driving system) on new Mercedes-Benz E-Class
(Source: Mercedes-Benz press release)

 Reported below is availability of active safety features on Daimler, BMW and Audi's models released (or to be released) in Europe. Five models ranging from the flagship, midsize to entry models are selected for each brand and their feature availabilities are compared.

Daimler (Mercedes-Benz brand models)

* Offering different Driving Assistance Packages for midsize/large vehicles and small vehicles
* Installing new active safety features on the new E-Class to be launched in the spring of 2016

BMW (BMW brand models)

* Nearly the same Driving Assistant Packages available on all models
* Featuring various Driving Assistant Plus Packages for different models
* Adopting new features on the new flagship 7 Series to be released in October 2015

VW (Audi brand models)

* Offering more active safety features on the new Q7 and A4 (to be) released in 2015 than the flagship model
* Featuring automatic brakes for vehicles and pedestrians and multicollision brake assist system as standard equipment
* Preparing three assistance system packages: Tour, City and Parking

Movements related to active safety features in the future

* Euro NCAP's assessment items for automobile safety
Including Autonomous Emergency Braking for vehicles and Lane Keep Assist systems in 2014
Including Autonomous Emergency Braking for pedestrians in 2016

* Research and development on autonomous driving progressing by the three OEMs
Semi-autonomous system (such as Traffic Jam Assist) increasingly available

Cockpit of new BMW 7 Series
Cockpit of new BMW 7 Series
(Source: BMW press release)
Numerous driving assist systems
Numerous driving assist systems available on
new Audi A4 (Source: Audi press release)

 
Related reports:
 Toyota: Introduction of active safety packages on all cars in three years (Feb. 2015)
 Nissan and Honda expand and improve active safety systems (Mar. 2015)
 Mazda, Subaru, Suzuki and Daihatsu adopt updated active safety systems (Apr. 2015)



Daimler offers different Driving Assistance Packages for midsize/large and small vehicles

 Daimler offers the Driving Assistance Package comprising a set of active safety features on all the five Mercedes-Benz brand models reported here. However, the package includes the features with basic functions for small vehicles while it contains the systems with extended and additional functions for midsize and large vehicles.

 

Driving Assistance Package
For small vehicles Additional functions for midsize and large vehicles
Blind Spot Assist + Course correction function with the corrective brakes
Lane Keeping Assist
Distronic Plus (Adaptive Cruise Control) + Steering assist function
PRE-SAFE anticipatory safety system
(occupant protection system)
+ Warning and automatic braking function
- + Brake assist system and rear collision warning system


 Four of the five models reported here feature the Driving Assistance Package as optional equipment while only the flagship S-Class comes standard with the package on its upper grades.

 Other active safety features include the Attention Assist, which warns the driver's drowsiness, standard on all the models. The standard equipment on some grades of all the models comprise the COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS that alerts the risk of a collision with the preceding vehicle, and the Active parking assist which automatically steers and applies the brakes for parking.

 In July 2015, Daimler disclosed the features available on the new E-Class sedan to be released in the spring of 2016. The new features contain the Remote Parking Pilot which allows the driver to move the vehicle into the parking space from outside, and the Car-to-X Communication that uses a smartphone to exchange information with other vehicles.

 

New Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
New Mercedes-Benz GLE Coupe
(Source: Daimler press release)
Car-to-X Communication
Car-to-X Communication available on new E-Class
(Source: Daimler press release)

 

Mercedes-Benz's active safety features

Driving Assistance Package for small vehicles
Blind Spot Assist  The system monitors the blind spot, the areas towards the rear of the vehicle on both sides, and warns the driver of the presence of another vehicle in the spot.
Lane Keeping Assist  If the vehicle is unintentionally wandering out of its lane without using a turn indicator, the system warns the driver by vibrations on the steering wheel.
Distronic Plus  The system automatically maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead by braking when necessary and accelerating again when the traffic conditions permit.
PRE-SAFE anticipatory safety system  When the system detects the risk of a collision, it rewinds the seat belts, returns the seat positions, and closes the windows to protect the occupants.
Driving Assistance Package for midsize and large vehicles
Active Blind Spot Assist  When the system detects the risk of a side collision with the car approaching from the blind spot, it applies the corrective brakes on the one-side wheels to correct the vehicle's driving course
Active Lane Keeping Assist  When the driver does not respond to the warning of the lane deviation, the system will push back the vehicle into its lane with the automatic corrective brakes. The system is activated at speeds from 60 to 200 km/h.
Distronic Plus with Steer Assist and Stop&Go Pilot  The Distronic Plus system maintains a safe distance from the vehicle ahead, while the Steer Assist function uses radar sensors and a stereo camera to recognize the curve of the lane and the preceding car. The function assists steering to keep the vehicle in the middle of the lane. It is activated at speeds from 0 to 200 km/h. (The cruising speed can be set at speeds from 30 to 200 km/h.)
 The Stop&Go Pilot function makes the vehicle to automatically stop and restart in response to the movement of the preceding car in congested traffic.
BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist  If the BAS PLUS detects the risk of a collision, it gives the driver visual and audible warnings. When the driver applies the brakes, the system automatically boost the braking pressure up to the optimum brake force, if necessary, to avoid a collision.
 The Cross-Traffic Assist function uses two types of radar sensors, including a short-range sensor as well as a medium- and long-range sensor, and a stereo camera to monitor the wide area ahead of the vehicle. When the system detects the risk of a collision with the preceding car, crossing cars, or pedestrians in front of the vehicle, it gives visual and audible warnings. The system is activated at speeds of up to 72 km/h.
PRE-SAFE Brake with pedestrian detection  The system uses short, medium, and long-range radar sensors and a stereo camera to monitor the area ahead of the vehicle. When the system detects the risk of a collision with the preceding car and pedestrians, it warns the driver with visual and acoustic alerts as well as light brakes. If the driver does not respond, it applies the full brakes if necessary. Simultaneously, it rewinds the seat belt to protect the occupants. The system can help to avoid a collision at speeds of up to 50 km/h while it mitigates damage resulting from a collision at speeds over 50 km/h.
PRE-SAFE PLUS  The system uses a radar sensor in the rear bumper to monitor the traffic behind the vehicle. When it detects the risk of a rear-end collision, it flashes the rear hazard lights to warn the driver of the following car. Subsequently, the occupant protection measures are deployed including automatic seat belt tensioning. If the vehicle is stationary during the hazardous situation, the system firmly applies the vehicle's brakes to avoid multiple collisions and mitigate damage of further accidents in the case of the rear-end collision.
Other active safety features
Attention Assist  The system detects inattentiveness and drowsiness of the driver based on changes in the steering behavior and other factors. It is activated at speeds from 60 to 200 km/h. In the instrument cluster, it informs the driver about their level of drowsiness and how long they have been driving since their last break. When the system recommends the driver to take a break, nearby service areas will be indicated in the navigation system.
COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS  This system uses a mid-range radar sensor fitted on the front bumper to monitor the range of 80 meters in front of the vehicle. When the minimum safe distance from the vehicle ahead is exceeded, a warning light comes on in the instrument cluster. If the distance decreases further, a warning tone is emitted. In the event that the braking pressure applied by the driver is insufficient, the system activates Adaptive Brake Assist, which automatically increases the braking pressure.
Active parking assist with PARKTRONIC  The system assists the driver in parallel and perpendicular parking. When traveling at speeds below 30 km/h, it identifies a suitable parking spot. The system steers and applies the brakes for parking. What the driver has to do is shifting gears and operating the accelerator pedal. The system also allows the vehicle to go out of the parking spot by automatically steering and applying the brakes.

New active safety features to be installed on new E-Class (to be released in Spring 2016)

Intelligent Drive next Level  On motorways and country roads, the system not only maintains the distance from the preceding car but also assists steering to stay in its lane. (The system is activated at speeds from 0 to 200 km/h.) It is capable of keeping the vehicle in its lane without clearly visible lane markings at speeds up to 130 km/h.
Speed Limit Pilot  In combination with the COMAND Online telematics system, the Speed Limit Pilot automatically adjusts the vehicle's speed in response to camera-detected speed limit signs or speed limits logged in the navigation system.
Active Brake Assist  The system warns the driver if the risk of a collision is detected. It provides the right level of assistance in the event of sudden braking and applies the brakes automatically in an emergency. In addition to detecting slower-moving, stopping or stationary vehicles, it also detects crossing traffic at junctions, the tail-ends of traffic jams and pedestrians ahead of the vehicle.
Evasive Steering Assist  When the driver performs an evasive maneuver in a dangerous situation, the system adds a precisely calculated steering torque to support the movement of the steering wheel. It complements the pedestrian detection function of the Active Brake Assist. This system helps the driver to avoid the pedestrian in a controlled manner while subsequently facilitates the straightening of the vehicle in order to pass safely.
Remote Parking Pilot  The driver uses the relevant app downloaded into their smartphones to move the vehicle into and out of parking spaces from outside. The system allows the occupants to get into and out of the vehicle easily even if the space is very tight.
Car-to-X Communication  This is the smartphone-supported information exchange system with other vehicles further ahead on the road. The system allows the driver to see around corners or through obstacles. If there is an imminent risk such as an accident, the driver is able to receive a warning earlier than before.
Digital Car Key  After the Mercedes-Benz driving authorization system is transferred to a secured and encrypted chip in the smartphone, it can be used as the car key. A smartphone capable of near field communication (NFC) technology in combination with a secure-SIM card is required to use this function.
PRE-SAFE Impulse Side  When the system detects an unavoidable side collision, the air chambers in the backrest side bolsters (the parts on both sides of the backrest to support the upper body of the occupant) inflate rapidly to move the occupant sideways, away from the dangerous area. This increases the distance between the occupant and the door.
PRE-SAFE Sound  This system protects the occupant's ears from the expected noise in the event of a possible collision. When presented with a high-intensity sound stimulus, the stapedius muscle in the middle ear contracts to decrease the transmission of the loud sound to the middle ear. This is the first technology to use the stapedius reflex. If the system detects the risk of a collision, it emits a short interference signal through the vehicle's sound system. This signal triggers the stapedius reflex, which lessens the risk of the occupant's hearing damage.
MULTIBEAM LED headlamps  This is the second generation of the MULTIBEAM LED headlamps which have been installed on the CLS for the first time since 2014. Each headlamp is equipped with 84 individually activated high-performance LEDs (rather than 24 on the CLS). These headlamps illuminate the road surface with a precisely controlled distribution of light, providing exceptionally bright light for the driver without dazzling other road users.

 

Daimler: active safety features on major Mercedes-Benz brand vehicles

"S" standard on all grades, "A" standard on some grades, "O" optional
Model S-Class GLE Coupe E-Class C-Class GLA-Class
Flagship
sedan
Midsize
SUV
coupe
Midsize
(E-segment)
sedan
Midsize
(D-segment)
sedan
Compact
SUV
Launch month and year of models fitted with current safety features Jul. 2013 Mar. 2015 Spring 2016 Feb. 2014 Nov. 2013
Driving Assistance Package for midsize and large vehicles
Active Blind Spot Assist AO O O O
Active Lane Keeping Assist AO O O O
BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist AO O O O
Distronic Plus with Steer Assist and Stop&Go Pilot AO O O O
PRE-SAFE Brake with pedestrian detection AO O O O
PRE-SAFER PLUS AO O O O
Driving Assistance Package for small vehicles
Blind Spot Assist O(Note1) O
Lane Keeping Assist O(Note1) O
Distronic Plus O
PRE-SAFE anticipatory safety system S S O
Other active safety features
Attention Assist S S S S S
COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS A S S S S
Night View Assist Plus AO
Traffic Sign Assist with wrong-way driver warning function S O
Active parking assist with PARKTRONIC AO A S AO AO
360-degree camera AO A
Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus S S O
Adaptive Highbeam Assist S
Source: Daimler on-line catalogs (U.K.) as of late September 2015
(Note)1. The E-Class will offer these features as the Lane Tracking Package.
2. This table does not include "new active safety features to be installed on new E-Class" listed in another table.

 

 



BMW provides same Driving Assistant Package on all models

 BMW also prepares the Driving Assistant Package including a suit of active safety features whereas the automaker offers nearly the same package across all models ranging from the flagship to small vehicles. Then, it adds the Driving Assistant Plus Package which comprises various features on different models.

 

Driving Assistant Package Driving Assistant Plus Package
Forward Collision Warning Active Cruise Control (Adaptive Cruise Control)
City Collision Mitigation
(autonomous braking system for vehicles)
Traffic Jam Assist
Preventive Pedestrian Protection
(autonomous braking system for pedestrians and cyclists)
(The above two features are available on most of the models. The new 7 Series offers more new features.)
Lane Departure Warning
Speed-limit information


 Among the five models reported here, only the X6 midsize SUV adopts the Driving Assistant Package as standard equipment. Four other models come optional with both packages.

 Besides, the new flagship 7 Series to be released in October 2015 features some more innovative systems as optional equipment. Those features include the Remote Control Parking which enables the driver to maneuver the vehicle in the tight parking spot from outside, and the Surround-view that shows a new 3D View in addition to the rear and top views.

 

New BMW 7 Series
New BMW 7 Series (Frankfurt Auto Show 2015)
Remote Control Parking on BMW 7 Series
Remote Control Parking on BMW 7 Series
(Source: BMW press release)

 

BMW's active safety features

Driving Assistant Package
Forward Collision Warning  The system provides visual and audible warnings when the driver is approaching a vehicle ahead too quickly.
City Collision Mitigation  This is an autonomous braking system for vehicles. If the driver does not respond to the warning given by the Forward Collision Warning, the system automatically applies the brakes. It is activated at speeds above 60 km/h.
Lane Departure Warning  This system uses a camera to monitor the lane markings ahead. If the vehicle travels over the lane markings without activating turn indicators, the system warns the driver by gently vibrating the steering wheel. It is active at speeds above 70 km/h.
Preventive Pedestrian Protection  This is an autonomous braking system for pedestrians and cyclists. When traveling at speeds up to 56 km/h in the urban area, the system automatically applies the brakes if the risk of a collision with pedestrians or cyclists is detected.
Speed-limit information  The system uses a camera fitted near the rear view mirror to identify the traffic signs including the speed-limit signs. It shows the current speed limit in the instrument panel or in the head-up display.
Driving Assistant Plus Package
Active Cruise Control with 'Stop & Go' function  The system uses radar sensors to monitor the area in front of the vehicle. It maintains a safe distance from the preceding car by automatically adapting the speed of the vehicle in response to the car ahead.
Traffic Jam Assist  The Traffic Jam Assist is activated at speeds from 0 to 60 km/h. In the congested traffic, the system automatically accelerates, decelerates and steers the vehicle. While it maintains the desired distance from the preceding car, it also actively steers the vehicle to stay in its lane. In order to activate the system, the driver is required to keep at least one hand on the steering wheel (to take over responsibility of driving if necessary).

New active safety features on new 7 Series (to be released in October 2015)

Crossing-traffic Warning  When in crossing at an intersection, the system warns of potential collisions with vehicles approaching from both sides which the driver cannot see.
Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection  The system intervenes in steering to avoid the risk if the vehicle unintentionally leaves its lane or is about to collide with objects to the side of the vehicle
Steering and Lane Control Assistant  The system uses multiple radar sensors and a stereo camera to keep a desired distance from the preceding car and to maintain the vehicle in the middle of its lane. It is activated at speeds from 0 to 210 km/h. The driver is required to keep both hands on the steering wheel to take over responsibility of driving if necessary.
Remote Control Parking  The system allows the driver to maneuver the vehicle into the garage or parking spot from outside of the vehicle, using the Display Key. It also remotely moves the vehicle out of the parking spot. The system is available in November 2015 for diesel vehicles and March 2016 for petrol vehicles.
Surround-view with 3D view  The system uses cameras fitted on the front of the vehicle and at the exterior mirrors to show the 360-degree view around the vehicle on the onboard display. It offers the Rear View, Top View and Panorama View which shows the traffic ahead at an intersection with poor visibility. The driver can switch between these views. The new 7 Series also provides the 3D View generated by the computer.

 

BMW: active safety features on major BMW brand vehicles

"S" standard on all grades, "A" standard on some grades, "O" optional
Model 7 Series X6 5 Series 3 Series X1
Flagship
sedan
Midsize
SUV
Midsize
(E-segment)
sedan
Midsize
(D-segment)
sedan
Compact
SUV
Launch month and year of models fitted with current safety features Oct. 2015 Dec. 2014 May 2013 Summer 2013 Oct. 2015
Driving Assistant Package
City Collision Mitigation/City Braking function O S O O O
Forward Collision Warning O S O O O
Lane Departure Warning O S O O O
Preventive Pedestrian Protection/Pedestrian Warning O S O O O
Speed-limit information/Speed Limit Display O O O O
Driving Assistant Plus Package
Active Cruise Control with 'Stop & Go" function O O O O O
Traffic Jam Assist O O O O
Crossing-traffic Warning O
Lane Keeping Assistant with active side collision protection O
Steering and Lane Control Assistant O
Other active safety features
Dynamic Safety S O O O
Night Vision with Dynamic Light Spot and pedestrian recognition O O O
Lane Change Warning system O O O
Park Assist O O O O O
Remote Control Parking O
Surround-view O O O O
High-beam Assistant S O O O

Source: BMW on-line catalogs (U.K.) as of late September 2015

 

 



Audi's new Q7 and A4 feature active safety systems superior to flagship

 VW Group's Audi has installed more active safety features on the new Q7 released in the spring of 2015 and the new A4 to be launched in the fall of 2015 than the flagship model. The standard equipment on both of the models includes the Audi pre sense city, an autonomous braking system for vehicles and pedestrians, and the multicollision brake assist which prevents further collisions.

 In addition, optional driver assistance features can be selected individually or are available in the packages Tour, City and Parking on the new Q7 and A4. Each package comprises the following major systems.

 

Tour package City package Parking package
Traffic jam assist rear cross-traffic assist park assist (automatic steering for
parallel and perpendicular parking)
Collision avoidance assist
(steering assist)
exit warning 360-degree camera
Turning assist Active lane assist


 Upper grade models such as the A8, Q7and A6 adopt some other safety features. These include the Audi Matrix LED headlights with 25 LEDs for each high beam which can be individually controlled, and the Night vision assistant that shows a thermal image of pedestrians and animals on the onboard display at night.

 

New Audi A4
New Audi A4 (Frankfurt Auto Show 2015)
Pre sense city
"Pre sense city" autonomous braking system, standard
on Audi Q7 and A4 (Source: Audi press release)

 

Active safety features on new Q7 (released in spring 2015) and new A4 (to be launched in fall 2015)

Active safety features included as standard equipment
Audi pre sense city  This is an autonomous braking system which detects pedestrians as well as vehicles. Using a windshield-mounted front camera, the system scans the road with a range of 100 meters ahead for a suddenly stopping car or a crossing pedestrian in front of the vehicle. When the risk of a collision is detected, the system warns the driver and applies the automatic brakes if necessary. It can prevent accidents at speeds of up to 40 km/h and mitigate damage of collisions at speeds of up to 85 km/h.
multicollision brake assist system  When a collision is unavoidable, the system assists the driver with controlled application of the brake to prevent the vehicle from skidding, which averts further collisions.
attention assist  The system analyzes the driver's behavior and issues a warning when it detects that the driver is becoming inattentive due to tiredness.
adjustable speed limiter  (Standard only for the new A4) The system allows the driver to set a particular speed ranging from 30 to 250 km/h for the maximum speed limit. It is helpful for maintaining speed within city limits and in construction areas where irregular speed limits are imposed.
Tour package's major features
Traffic Jam Assist  The system is activated in combination with the Adaptive Cruise Control. When the traffic is congested, it takes over steering in addition to controlling the speed, using radar and ultrasonic sensors as well as a front camera. If the system reaches its system limits -for example, when the traffic thins out or there is a sharp curve ahead- it warns the driver to take over driving again. It is active at speeds of up to 65 km/h.
Collision avoidance assist  The system is activated when the vehicle has to avoid an obstacle to prevent an accident. First, it calculates the distance from the preceding car, using data from the front camera, Adaptive Cruise Control and radar sensors. When the risk is detected, it warns the driver with a tap on the brakes. As soon as the driver starts steering to avoid an obstacle, the system offers support for the necessary lane changes with controlled interventions to the power steering.
Turning assist  The system is activated when the driver turns on the left turn signal (on vehicles with left-hand drive). It monitors oncoming traffic during left turns. It is activated at speeds from 2 to 10 km/h. In dangerous situations, it brings the vehicle to a complete stop.
City package's major features
rear cross-traffic assist  When the driver is slowly driving backwards, for example while leaving a parking spot at right angles to the road, the system warns about approaching vehicles in critical range. There are different levels of warnings: visual, acoustic and a short jolt of the brakes. The back radar sensors provide the necessary data.
exit warning  When the vehicle stops moving, the system is activated to monitor the traffic around the vehicle. If it detects other vehicles or motorcycles approaching from behind when the occupants opens the doors, the LED warning lights inside the front and rear doors and/or in the exterior mirrors come on. The system stays on for three minutes after the ignition is turned off.
Parking package's major features
park assist  With the help of twelve ultrasonic sensors, the system assists to maneuver the vehicle into parallel or perpendicular parking spaces. It also identifies the parking spaces independently. Furthermore, it can steer the vehicle out of parallel parking spaces. All the driver has to do is accelerating, shifting gears and applying the brakes.
360-degree camera  The system shows the vehicle's surroundings from various perspectives, including a bird's-eye view, on the onboard display. It is helpful in maneuvering the vehicle in parking spaces or driveways where visibility is poor.

Active safety features available on upper grade models

Audi Matrix LED headlights  This headlight consists of an LED for the low beam and a high beam unit with 25 small LEDs. It switches between high and low beams by identifying the appropriate lighting required, using information from the front camera and navigation system. When the system detects lights of the preceding or oncoming vehicles, it partially masks its high beam by extinguishing individual LEDs. The system provides maximum and precise illumination at all times, improving visibility, without dazzling other road users.
Night vision assistant with pedestrian and animal detection  When driving at night, the system shows a thermal image of pedestrians and large wild animals on the onboard display. Initially the pedestrians and animals are highlighted in yellow. If the risk of a collision increases as they enter travelling course of the vehicle, the marking changes to red. In combination with the LED headlights or high beam assist system, the highlighted person is illuminated with three successive brief flashes of the headlight.

 

VW: active safety features on major Audi brand models

"S" standard on all grades, "A" standard on some grades, "O" optional
Model A8 Q7 A6 A4 Q3
Flagship
sedan
Large
SUV
Midsize
(E-segment)
sedan
Midsize
(D-segment)
sedan
Compact
SUV
Launch month and year of models fitted with current safety features Nov. 2013 Spring 2015 Fall 2014 Fall 2015 Feb. 2015
Tour assistance system package
Adaptive cruise control with Stop & Go function O O O O
Traffic jam assist O O
Pre-sense front O O O O
Audi active lane assist O O O O O
Collision avoidance assistant O O
Turning assist O O
Speed limit display/Traffic sign recognition O O O O O
City assistance system package
Audi side assist O O O O O
Pre-sense rear O O O O
Rear cross-traffic assist O O
Exit warning O O
Parking assistance system package
Park assist O O O O O
Surround view/360-degree camera O O
Other active safety features
Pre-sense basic S O O O
Pre-sense city S S
Multi-collision brake assist/Secondary collision brake assist S S S
Attention assist S S
Adjustable speed limiter S
Night vision assistant with pedestrian and animal detection O O O
top view AO O
Audi Matrix LED headlights A O O
High Beam Assist AO AO O A

Source: Audi on-line catalogs (U.K.) as of late September 2015

<Automotive Industry Portal MarkLines>