2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class “Autonomous Pilot” Function Detailed - We Still Get to Drive

It was a very long time ago that Mercedes-Benz first announced that the new E-Class would be able to navigate highways “nearly autonomously,” a statement that was very often repeated since then.
2017 Mercedes-Benz Active Lane Change Assist 1 photo
Photo: Mercedes-Benz
Today, after revealing a host of interior features and venturing a little outside for a look at the new head and taillights, Mercedes-Benz also divulged more information on the highly-anticipated we’re-not-calling-it-autonomous-driving-yet function.

As many were expecting, the E-Class is merely taking another step in the direction of the self-driving car, waiting like the rest of the pack for the mandatory legislative amendments as well as the eventual modifications in the infrastructure before presenting the world with a truly autonomous vehicle.

We’ve said it before that the technology is clearly ready to have cars move by themselves from one place to another, it just needs more real-life testing. And that’s precisely what Mercedes-Benz is doing with the Active Lance Change Assist feature.

If we’re to be honest, the feature in itself is pretty useless. It only works if the Steering Pilot is activated, which means the driver must keep his hands on the wheel (the Steering Pilot deactivates after a few seconds if it detects a free steering wheel). Then, the car will only initiate a lane change after the driver puts the turning indicator on for at least two seconds. And it only works on multi-lane roads (that makes sense) and at speeds between 80 and 180 km/h (50 and 112 mph).

With all the safety features on like the Active Blind Spot Assist and the DISTRONIC PLUS adaptive cruise control, what the new Active Lane Chance Assist feature basically does is spare the driver of the burden of turning the steering wheel by twenty degrees or so and checking his mirrors beforehand. Which, by the way, might build up into a very unsafe habit when the system isn’t available.

So, as the title of Larry David’s TV Series said, curb your enthusiasm and don’t give up on driving just yet. We might have to turn the wheel ourselves for quite some time to come. For full details on the new feature of the E-Class, read the press release below.
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press release
About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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