OverviewAerodynamics: Sleek, silent typeBodyshell and passive safety: Maximum stability and excellent lightweight designClimate control: Many new features for a pleasant atmosphereControl and display concept: Elegant new control centreDrive system: Class-leading efficiency in every output categoryExtended PRE-SAFE® protection: Prevention is better than cureExtended protection in the rear: Top safety level for the rearExterior design: Modern sense of status, sensual shapes and stylish sportinessHeritage: The highlights of the S-Class and its predecessorsInnovations in the new S-Class: Key new products and features at a glanceInterior design: Visual breadth and calm solidityInterview: "New S-Class with all-round vision"Lights: The first ever car without a single light bulbMultimedia features: Communication centre and concert hallSeats: Mobile office and centre of wellbeingSuspension: The world's first suspension system with "eyes"The driving assistance systems: Helpers in the backgroundThe Mercedes-Benz management team on the S-Class: The best or nothing, in every respectThe model range - The assignment: perfectionThe new Mercedes-Benz S-Class - The aspiration: the best car in the worldUnder the microscope - Burmester® High-End 3D Surround Sound system: Three-dimensional in-car soundUnder the microscope - ENERGIZING massage function on the hot-stone principle: The seats actively keep the passengers fitUnder the microscope: actuators make the S-Class more comfortable - Over 100 little helpersUnder the microscope: an unconventional development tool - Virtual human modelsUnder the microscope: energy-transparent vehicle - On the trail of energy lossUnder the microscope: interview with Marc vom Ende - The fourth dimension of sensualityUnder the microscope: perceived quality - "Perceived quality does not depend on the spirit of the age"Under the microscope: performance-enhancing comfort - Comfort is also conducive to safetyUnder the microscope: seat production - In-house seat production to the highest quality standardsUnder the microscope: the new sensors - Intelligent networking of eyes and ears

Interview: "New S-Class with all-round vision"

Jul 2, 2013
Prof. Thomas Weber is the Member of the Daimler Board of Management responsible for Group Research and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars Development. We spoke to him about the potential of the new safety systems.
Prof. Weber, "Intelligent Drive" was an engineering priority for the S-Class. What exactly does Mercedes-Benz understand by this term?
Whereas before, assistance systems could be clearly classified under the categories of comfort or safety, the boundaries are more fluid today. For us, "Intelligent Drive" is the intelligent interlinking of sensors and systems to create a new dimension in motoring.
The car was already given the gift of sight some years ago thanks to a multitude of sensors and cameras. What new capabilities are being added now?
The intelligent assistance systems of the future will be able to analyse more and more complex situations and recognise potential dangers out on the road with the aid of improved environment sensor systems even more accurately than today. Combining the algorithms that extract their data from the further improved radar sensors and the new stereo camera is also crucial for the new functions. We call it "sensor fusion". The new Brake Assist system BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist, for instance, is now also able to detect crossing traffic and pedestrians for the first time. And PRE-SAFE® PLUS can trigger precautionary measures when there is a risk of a collision from the rear. Figuratively speaking, the S-Class doesn't just have eyes at the front; it has 360-degree all-round vision.
You just mentioned pedestrian detection. So, the new safety systems don't just protect Mercedes drivers and their passengers, but other road users too?
Yes, other road users should of course also reap the benefits of our superior safety expertise, not just our customers. Take the spotlight function of Night View Assist PLUS, for instance, which allows pedestrians to be spotted in the dark and flashed with pinpoint accuracy. By so doing, not only are we warning the driver, but the pedestrian, too. Another example is the new tail light clusters with their multi-level functionality. Here, the brake lights and indicators are operated at varying intensities depending on the current driving state and the brightness of the surroundings (whether it is day or night, for example). If the Mercedes driver presses the brake pedal while stopped at traffic lights at night, for instance, the brightness of the brake lights will be automatically dimmed to avoid dazzling anyone behind.
What sort of improvement in the accident figures do you expect the new assistance systems to bring about? Is the vision of accident-free driving due to become a reality soon?
The vision of accident-free driving spurs us on to set ambitious goals. At the same time, though, the vision of accident-free driving is exactly that: a vision. Of course, we continue to work tirelessly to reduce the number of accidents and the severity of injuries as much as possible with ever newer safety technologies and our own in-house accident research. But we can't promise the impossible, simply because humans are prone to make the occasional error – including at the wheel of a car. That is why we need new systems that support the driver in critical situations. Our new systems hold great potential. Take, for instance, the new assistance system BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist: the results of our accident research based on the data from the GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study) indicate that it could mitigate or prevent 27 percent of all accidents at road junctions resulting in personal injury. That equates to some 20,000 accidents a year in Germany alone.
When will we get the autonomous car?
A decade ago, technologies that are taken for granted today were regarded by many as just wishful thinking. For that reason, I am certain that we will keep getting closer and closer to the notion of autonomous driving, too. By no means do we wish to take over control from the driver, however. Instead, the aim is to relieve motorists when driving is more of a burden than a pleasure – on the monotonous daily commute, for example, or in stop-start traffic. From a purely technical standpoint, that's already possible now to a certain extent. The new S-Class is equipped with systems that include the necessary means to do the same in complex traffic situations, too. In this way, comfort and safety systems merge together into a new dimension of motoring, opening up brand-new prospects.