by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

The all new Mercedes-Benz CLS Shooting Brake: The complete security technology

I. Active safety: Numerous assistants on board

Mercedes-Benz pursues a holistic approach in its safety research efforts, which aim to avoid accidents and to reduce the severity of unavoidable accidents under the banner "Real Life Safety". The CLS Shooting Brake features a whole range of systems to further reduce the strain on the driver. These include Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist, plus the LED High Performance headlamps with various light functions.

The CLS Coupé was the first automobile in the world with dynamic LED High Performance headlamps. The innovation was very well received, with 95 percent of all CLS Coupé customers choosing this option. The innovative light system is also available for the CLS Shooting Brake, combining the fascinating near-daylight colour impression of LED technology with the performance, functionality and energy efficiency of the present-day bi-xenon generation. The light system offers the proven Intelligent Light System on the basis of LED technology. The five light functions – country mode, motorway mode, enhanced fog light function, active light function and cornering lights – are geared to typical driving or weather conditions.

In contrast to other vehicles with LED headlamps, this rules out any need for compromises with regard to the functionality and performance of the lights. Other merits of the light technology based on light-emitting diodes are an average LED service life of 10,000 hours – around five times that of a xenon bulb – and the fact that the light from LED headlamps comes closest to daylight. This means that LED light is in keeping with the normal human perception patterns. Studies have shown that the closer the colour of artificial light comes to daylight, the less the strain on the eyes. With a colour temperature of 5500 kelvin, LED light is closer to daylight (6500 K) than xenon light (4200 K). The driver's experience of this effect is that colour impressions at night-time seem close to daylight colours, resulting in a subjective impression of greater brightness on the road.

The light specialists at Mercedes-Benz have also combined LED technology with the innovative Adaptive Highbeam Assist system, leading to a new level of safety at night. The basic principle behind Adaptive Highbeam Assist is as follows: if the system detects an oncoming vehicle or a vehicle in front with its lights on, the system dims the headlamps and continually adjusts the headlamp range in such a way that the cone-shaped beam of headlamp light does not reach these vehicles. There is, in addition, the Night View Assist Plus system as an option.

Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist

In the CLS, proven technologies such as ABS, ESP® and Brake Assist work alongside a dozen assistance systems to help prevent accidents and reduce the severity of unavoidable accidents. These range from drowsiness detection to automatic full brake application on recognising that there is an acute risk of a collision, and from Adaptive Highbeam Assist to traffic sign recognition.

Active Blind Spot Assistwarns the driver when changing lanes if a risk of collision is detected due to another vehicle in the neighbouring lane being in the so-called blind spot of the exterior mirror. If the driver ignores the warning and nevertheless initiates the lane-changing manoeuvre, the Active Blind Spot Assist intervenes. By applying gentle braking force to the wheels on the opposite side of the vehicle, a yaw movement is created which counteracts the collision course.

Active Lane Keeping Assist is also linked up to ESP®. This system kicks into action if the Mercedes vehicle inadvertently drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane. In such a case, a warning sign in the instrument cluster and vibration of the steering wheel alert the driver. If the driver does not heed the warning in the case of the solid line, Active Lane Keeping Assist can use the ESP® to gently brake the opposite wheels and thereby prevent the vehicle from crossing the solid line.

Other helpers:

ADAPTIVE BRAKE (standard): This Mercedes-Benz brake system offers assistance functions for greater safety and comfort, such as a HOLD function when waiting at traffic lights, and Hill-Start Assist which can help prevent rolling backwards when moving off on a slope.

Active Parking Assist with PARKTRONIC: When equipped with this system, the CLS Shooting Brake is not only able to detect parking spaces, but can also help to manoeuvre the vehicle into located spaces. This is possible in combination with the new electro-mechanical Direct-Steer system and a number of ultrasonic sensors. The convenience system performs the following functions: gauging of potential parking spaces according to length and depth up to a vehicle speed of 36 km/h; calculation of an appropriate path into the parking space from the vehicle's current position; operation of the steering to move the vehicle along this parking path. Parking spaces are gauged using two enhanced ultrasonic sensors which are integrated on the right- and left-hand sides in the front bumper.

ATTENTION ASSIST: The high-resolution sensors of this standard-fit system measure more than 70 parameters which are analysed to detect fatigue. This continual monitoring is important in order to recognise the gradual transition from alertness to tiredness and give the driver plenty of warning. Based on a variety of data, ATTENTION ASSIST creates an individual driver profile during the first few minutes of each journey and compares this with sensor data and the driving situation as recognised by the vehicle's electronic control unit. Alongside values such as the steering behaviour of the driver, the Mercedes-Benz system also measures driving conditions such as speed, longitudinal/lateral acceleration, indicator and pedal usage, as well as external factors such as the unevenness of the roads, for example.

Brake Assist PLUS: This system is able to recognise an impending rear-end collision using radar sensors. It calculates the necessary degree of braking assistance and makes it available immediately when the driver presses the brake pedal.

DISTRONIC PLUS: Radar-based adaptive cruise control supports the driver at speeds between zero and 200 km/h by automatically adjusting the distance to the vehicles in front. In doing so it is able to apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a complete standstill. If the system detects that the distance is being reduced too quickly, it warns the driver with both visual and audible signals.

Headlamp Assist (standard): A sensor on the windscreen detects the lighting conditions. As a result, the headlamps can be turned on automatically and the dashboard lighting adapted accordingly when darkness falls.

Speed Limit Assist: A camera fitted behind the windscreen detects speed limit signs at the roadside and compares this data to information contained in the GPS system. The relevant speed limit is then displayed in the instrument cluster.

Night View Assist PLUS: The display in the dashboard shows a realistic grey-scale image from an infrared camera that monitors the road ahead of the vehicle. Any pedestrians detected are additionally highlighted in the display with so-called photo corners.

PRE-SAFE® Brake: Autonomous braking if acute danger of an accident is detected. At first the driver is given both an acoustic and a visual warning if the system identifies there is a danger of collision. If the driver does not react to this, the system brakes the vehicle autonomously. This occurs in two stages: around 1.6 seconds before the calculated impact point the system decelerates the car with around 40 percent (approx. four m/s²) of the maximum braking power, gives the driver an additional, haptic warning of the impending impact and as a precaution activates the reversible PRE-SAFE® occupant protection system. If the driver still fails to react, the PRE-SAFE® Brake activates the maximum braking power around 0.6 seconds before the now unavoidable collision - this emergency braking can greatly reduce the severity of the impact. The system therefore acts like an "electronic crumple zone", offering the car occupants even greater protection. The PRE-SAFE® Brake is active at speeds of between 7 and 200 km/h when moving vehicles are detected in front of the car. The system also reacts if the car approaches a stationary queue of traffic, providing its speed is below 70 km/h.

II. Passive safety: Prevention and early detection

With nine airbags as standard, belt tensioners and belt force limiters also in the rear and crash-responsive NECK-PRO head restraints for driver and front passenger, the CLS Shooting Brake offers a comprehensive scope of safety equipment. The PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system, which is able to reduce the forces acting on occupants in an accident by up to 40 percent, also comes as standard.

The airbags, which can deploy in a matter of milliseconds in the event of an accident, include two adaptive airbags for the driver and front passenger, a kneebag for the driver, two sidebags in the front-seat backrests and two large windowbags which extend from the A-pillar to the C-pillar during side impact. In addition, pelvisbags are included as standard for front-seat passengers, which in the event of a side collision can help to reduce loads in the pelvic area. Sidebags are also available for the rear as an optional extra, resulting in a total of eleven airbags.

Three-point automatic safety belts with belt tensioners and belt force limiters are fitted as standard for the driver, front passenger and rear passengers. Mercedes-Benz is offering adaptive belt force limiters for the outer rear seats as an option (as part of the Rear Seat Safety package together with the two sidebags in the rear). These adapt to the size of passengers automatically. The system detects whether the rear seat passenger is large or small as soon as the seat belt is put on, based on the length of the pulled-out seat belt, and can adapt its protective effect accordingly. The maximum belt force is activated immediately if the rear passenger is large in size, while in the case of smaller occupants the force exerted by the belt is initially set to a lower level.

The three saddle-type head restraints on the rear seats barely affect the view towards the rear, and can be lowered at the touch of a button by the driver.

For toddlers on board, the Shooting Brake is equipped as standard with ISOFIX, the international standard securing system for child seats. The standard-fit mechanism is installed on the outer rear seats and comprises two retaining brackets in each rear seat position, in the gap between the back rest and seat cushion, as well as an additional third anchor point, the so-called top tether. The ACSR automatic child seat recognition system is optionally available for the front passenger seat.

NECK-PRO is the name Mercedes-Benz has given to a crash-responsive head restraint whose development, like that of PRE-SAFE® and other Mercedes-Benz innovations, is based on analyses of real accidents. NECK-PRO is an effective means of reducing the risk of whiplash injuries during a rear-end collision. If the sensor system detects a rear-end collision with a defined impact severity, it releases pre-tensioned springs inside the head restraints, causing the head restraints to move forward by about 40 millimetres and upwards by 30 millimetres within a matter of milliseconds. This means that the heads of the driver and front passenger can be supported at an early stage.

The CLS Shooting Brake is also equipped as standard with the PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system. This Mercedes-Benz innovation uses the time between detection of a potential accident situation and a possible collision to initiate preventive protective measures, thus reducing the loads exerted on the occupants in the event of a crash by up to 40 percent. The PRE-SAFE® system consists of reversible belt tensioners for the front seats, a closing function for power windows, and automatic positioning for the front passenger seat. Depending on the equipment variant, the system may also include a closing function for the electric sliding sunroof and adjustment of the seat contours on the driver's and the front passenger's side.

When installed in combination with DISTRONIC PLUS, PRE-SAFE® also uses the information provided by the short-range radar sensors in the front bumper to tension the front seat belts at the very last moment before an unavoidable collision, thus reducing the forces exerted on the driver and front passenger during the crash.

Credits: Daimler AG

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