Mercedes’ 2017 E-Class will move a step closer to fully-autonomous cars

2015 Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Mercedes-Benz traditionally uses its flagship S-Class to introduce new tech and set precedents for future cars, but the next generation E-Class midsize luxury sedan may actually overshadow its more prestigious sibling.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class will feature a host of new tech, including some features that move Mercedes a step closer to the autonomous cars it has said it wants to put on sale by 2020. That includes systems that allow the E-Class to drive semi-autonomously in certain situations and maneuver in and out of parking spaces. This will also likely be the first factory deployment of a “Car-to-X communication” early warning system.

Mercedes says the new E-Class will be able to follow other cars at speeds up to 200 kph (124 mph), taking over all acceleration and braking duties as well as providing “steering assistance” to the driver. At speeds up to 130 kph (80 mph), the system does not necessarily need clear lane markings to operate.

A Speed Limit Pilot also features the ability to automatically adjust speed if it detects changes in the speed limit, either by reading road signs or noting speed zones programmed into the navigation system.

Other semi-automated features include Active Brake Assist, which can detect situations where emergency braking may be required, warn the driver, and provide everything from a brake-pressure boost up to full automatic braking. There’s also Evasive Steering Assist, which adjusts power-steering boost to help the driver execute evasive maneuvers.

When it’s time to park, Mercedes says the new Remote Parking Pilot will allow the driver to get out of the car and steer it into a parking space using a smartphone app. This lets occupants avoid having to get in and out in a tight space, and should make moving the car easier. This feature won’t be available in the U.S. at launch, though.

Mercedes has offered Car-to-X systems as a retrofit option in Europe since 2013, and will now place the technology in new cars beginning with the 2017 E-Class.

A variant of the vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) systems that have received praise from U.S. safety regulators, Car-to-X allows vehicles equipped with the necessary hardware to transmit signals to each other, providing greater awareness of potentially dangerous road conditions.

This could potentially allow a driver to “see” obstacles that may be out of his or her field of view, or to get an advance warning of an impending accident, or of a traffic jam or bad weather farther ahead. Mercedes claims the system could also receive data from emergency vehicles if agencies choose to provide it, meaning drivers could be alerted to the presence of a fast-moving police car or ambulance before hearing sirens.

Of course, only cars equipped with the system can communicate with each other, so the benefit will likely be limited until a critical mass of “talking” cars is reached.

In addition to the safety-related tech, E-Class drivers will be able to ditch their key fobs and use smartphones as “digital keys,” using Near Field Communication with a sensor located near the driver’s door handle.

The 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class is expected to debut this coming auto show season, and will go on sale next year.

Product Review

Want an electric car that doesn't look like an electric car? Meet Audi's E-Tron

The 2019 Audi E-Tron is the German automaker’s first series-production electric car. Rather than make a bold statement with its first electric vehicle, Audi chose to make the E-Tron as much like its other cars as possible.

Mercedes-Benz GLE SUV tries to balance power and efficiency with mild-hybrid V8

The redesigned Mercedes-Benz GLE will get a V8 mild-hybrid powertrain when it launches in the United States later in 2019. The 4.0-liter twin-turbocharged V8 makes 483 hp on its own, but can also get a 21 hp electric boost.

Mercedes-Benz safety-car concept monitors the road ahead and your kids

The Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle 2019 was designed for a world where humans and machines share driving duties. It can use lights to communicate with other road users and even monitor an infant's vital signs.
Product Review

Mercedes-Benz fires its first salvo in the luxury electrification war

The EQC is Mercedes-Benz's answer to the Tesla threat, bringing performance, tech features, and luxury to the growing electric SUV segment. We headed to Norway, the electric car capital of the world, to get a taste of it.

USPS taps self-driving big rigs to move mail between cities

The United States Postal Service is teaming up with autonomous-truck company TuSimple for a trial using its self-driving big rigs to transport mail between depots in Arizona and Texas.

Cover your risky riding with Voom’s A.I.-driven insurance for e-rides and drones

Voom wants to protect your assets. An outgrowth of drone insurance provider Skywatch, Voom covers user risks for short-term mobility platforms. Without insurance, an hour riding an e-scooter or piloting a drone could end in financial ruin.
Product Review

The segment-bending 2020 Porsche Cayenne Coupe is an SUV in a track suit

For the 2020 model year, Porsche is expanding the third-generation Cayenne lineup with a more stylish Coupe-badged model. It's lower than a regular Cayenne, a little bit wider, and it wears a more muscular design.

Weighing the risks: The most dangerous cars, trucks, and SUVs in the U.S.

Larger passenger cars are safer than smaller cars, reports iSeeCars. In its analysis of the NHTSA Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) annual report, the fatal accident rate for passenger cars decreases as their size increases.

Live out your 007 fantasy with this special edition Aston DBS Superleggera

Aston Martin is releasing a limited-edition DBS Superleggera inspired by the James Bond movie On Her Majesty's Secret Service, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. The Superleggera's ancestor was 007's car in that movie.

2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup lets you see through trailers — sort of

The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 pickup truck gets a handful of updates for the new model year, including a transparent trailer camera system and a big boost in maximum towing capacity.

Insiders claim the Tesla Model S nearly became the long-rumored Apple car

Apple offered to buy Tesla in 2013, according to an analyst who spoke to people familiar with the talks. Apple made Tesla a great offer, but the deal fell through when Elon Musk refused to step away from the company he helped found.
Product Review

Hyundai’s luxurious Tucson suffocates you with more – in a good way

The refreshed 2019 Hyundai Tucson may be one of the more affordable compact SUVs on the market, but there are more safety features than before as standard, as well as a hint of luxury.

Parents will never miss soccer practice with BMW’s new 523-horsepower SUVs

BMW is launching M Performance versions of its biggest SUVs, the X5 and X7. While not full-on M models, they do pack 523-horsepower twin-turbo V8 engines, allowing both SUVs to sprint from zero to 60 mph in under five seconds.

Don’t trust Tesla’s new automatic lane-changing feature, Consumer Reports warns

Consumer Reports warns that last month's Autopilot updates that enabled automatic lane changing may put you at risk of a ticket or accident. Reaction times lagged what a human could do, testers say.