Mercedes-Benz smart adaptive cruise control works almost like a driver
As the auto industry grapples with the semantics of autonomous driving and the technical shortcomings of systems that claim to take the driver’s seat, it is reassuring to experience technology that demonstrates useful advancements without promising too much on its capabilities.
The full-size Mercedes-Benz GLS SUV features an adaptive cruise control system that demonstrates situational awareness that shows cars are becoming intelligent enough to react like a human driver to certain limited situations.
Full auto range is currently out of range, but the GLS can autonomously modulate vehicle speed depending on the circumstances. We put the system through rigorous testing and found its capabilities to be exceptional.
A walk on Skyline Drive in Shenandoah National Park can be difficult. The speed limit is low at 35 mph due to the need to avoid collisions with wildlife and the presence of pedestrians and cyclists. Cruise control is a good idea here to help drivers avoid inadvertently gaining speed on long straight sections and downhill sections.
However, the road winds along the spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains so there are many tight hairpin turns. The car needs to slow down well below 35 mph to negotiate these corners comfortably. Of course, you can go into full World Rally Championship drift mode and take those corners without slowing down, but your passengers’ stomachs might object.
But Mercedes Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control uses information on the road to accelerate and decelerate as needed for comfortable cruising in the park at safe and legal speeds. The system has access to the car’s navigation data, so it knows when bends are approaching.
The result is vastly superior to other systems of this type, just as one would expect from a company with a reputation for Mercedes’ technical prowess. When asked for information on how the system works, spokesperson Ashley Gillam told Design News: âIn our current models we have over 11 million kilometers of experience exclusively testing ADAS functions in the system. the whole world.
âAlong with that, there is a driving simulation test to find out how people react in various situations,â she continued. “There is also an early test phase with professional drivers on real roads and a customer-oriented test drive.”
This gives the car’s adaptive cruise control a solid foundation, but crucial data is also updated regularly to ensure accuracy. âAll this information is taken into account and implemented for the final application. The quality of the map data is also a key factor to validate for the system, with live updates available to ensure we have the latest version running. “
This information is also transmitted to the car’s active suspension system, which adjusts according to expected road conditions.
The 48-volt Active Body Control system can individually control the spring and damping forces of each wheel, eliminating roll, pitch and lift movements. Stereoscopic cameras in the Road Surface Scan system anticipate impact, allowing the suspension to prepare to absorb impact.
Driving comfort on winding mountain roads through national parks is also supported by the car’s ability to dampen roll, squat, or pitch movements. In fact, in Curve mode, the GLS can even tilt 3 degrees when cornering, preventing occupants from being thrown outward on tight corners.
The resulting feeling is of a car that knows what to expect, so it delivers smart and comfortable cruising. Which is perfect for visiting the parks when you don’t want to have unfortunate interactions with wildlife or park rangers.