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

If you don't know about Genesis yet, the G70 is going to change that

The 2019 Genesis G70 is Korea’s first attempt to take on the vaunted German trio of BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. Competition doesn’t come much tougher than that.

Muscle cars, trucks, and EVs roared into the subdued 2019 Detroit Auto Show

The 2019 Detroit Auto Show was the quietest edition of the event in recent memory, but that doesn't mean nothing significant happened inside the Cobo Center. Here are the new cars and concepts we saw at the show.

Fast and Furious fans get revved up: Toyota’s Supra sports car is back

The 2020 Toyota Supra made its long-awaited debut at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. The resurrected sports car, famous for a role in The Fast and the Furious, goes on sale in the U.S. this summer.

Self-driving, electric, and connected, the cars of CES 2019 hint at the future

Car companies remained surprisingly quiet during CES 2018. But they spoke up in 2019. From electric hatchbacks you can buy in 2019 to super-futuristic mood-detecting technology, here are the major announcements we covered during the event.

Hyundai’s Veloster N hot hatchback will prove its mettle on the track

The Hyundai Veloster N will go racing to prove the credibility of Hyundai's new N performance division. Unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Veloster N race car will compete in a class with other small cars.

Nissan IMs concept teases a future long-range, autonomous electric car

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Nissan IMs is an electric car with a 380-mile range, autonomous-driving capability, and a backseat designed for being chauffeured. Too bad it's just a concept car.

The 2020 Lexus RC F goes on a diet to run faster and hit harder

The Lexus RC F has been one of the heavier cars in its competitive set since its introduction. The Japanese firm's engineers set out to shed weight as they gave the model a mid-cycle update.

Lexus LC convertible concept teases a new open-air flagship

Debuting at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show, the Lexus LC convertible concept adds open-air motoring to the sleek LC's resume. But Lexus won't commit to a production version of the car just yet.

Big tech, bigger grille: BMW updates its 7 Series flagship for 2020

The BMW 7 Series will enter the 2020 model year with a host of updates inside, outside, and under the sheet metal. The new-look nose with a jumbo grille hides updated engines, while passengers benefit from smart tech features.
Emerging Tech

Ford’s sweaty robot bottom can simulate 10 years of seat use in mere days

Ford has developed 'Robutt,' a sweaty robot bottom that's designed to simulate the effects of having a pair of human buttocks sitting on its car seats for thousands of hours. Check it out.

In McLaren’s 600LT Spider, the engine is the only sound system you’ll need

The McLaren 600LT Spider is the inevitable convertible version of the 600LT coupe, itself a lighter, more powerful version of the McLaren 570S. The 600LT Spider boasts a 592-horsepower, twin-turbo V8, and a loud exhaust system to hear it…

Robomart’s self-driving grocery store is like Amazon Go on wheels

Robomart's driverless vehicle is like an Amazon Go store on wheels, with sensors tracking what you grab from the shelves. If you don't want to shop online or visit the grocery store yourself, Robomart will bring the store to you.

Ford has a plan to future-proof the hot-selling F-150 pickup truck

Worried about the threat of rising gas prices, Ford will add the F-150 to its growing portfolio of electrified vehicles. It is currently developing a hybrid F-150, and it will release an electric version of the next-generation truck.

Ford’s Mustang-inspired electric crossover will spawn a Lincoln luxury version

Lincoln will get its own version of parent Ford's first mass-market, long-range electric vehicle. While Ford's version will have styling inspired by the Mustang, Lincoln will take a more traditional approach.