At this year’s CES, Mercedes-Benz presented a new function for the Distronic distance assistance system: In the future, vehicles will be able to overtake independently. However, this is a Level 2 function that requires human attention.
Automatic overtaking maneuvers
Distronic can already automatically maintain not only speed but also distance from vehicles ahead. A steering assistant is used at the same time to ensure that the vehicle always stays in the prescribed lane during automatic driving. Mercedes-Benz has now unveiled an extension of the previous functions: In the future, the vehicles will be able to overtake slower cars automatically. This is made possible by some additional sensors that have to detect the speed of vehicles ahead and check the overtaking lane for any vehicles there.
The new feature is a Level 2 feature. This means that a human must be active behind the wheel while it is in use. Specifically, the assistance systems can only be used if the hands of the person driving are on the steering wheel. This is to ensure that intervention is possible at all times.
The new function is also intended to help in other situations when changing lanes. Explicit mention is made, for example, of the approach to freeway junctions, where it is often necessary to change lanes without overtaking.
Drive Pilot is coming to the U.S.
Alongside this, Mercedes-Benz announced at CES in Las Vegas that it would be bringing the Drive Pilot, which has already been introduced in Germany, to the US in the near future. This is a mode in which the car drives fully automatically. Human attention is no longer legally required here, so time in the car can certainly be spent on activities other than following the traffic. Applications for approval of this mode have been submitted in California and Nevada.