The Federal Motor Transport Authority of Germany has issued an approval to Mercedes-Benz for the use of the Active Lane Change Assist system, which allows cars to change lanes autonomously.
This system, which will gradually be authorised in other EU member states, too, is an upgrade of the Active Blind Spot Assist system, using radars and cameras to assist the driver in changing lanes and overtaking. When the driver switches on the indicator, the system will automatically turn the steering wheel and the car will autonomously move to the lane on its left or right. It will only do this if the combination of cameras and radars detects that there is nothing on the other lane, whereby it does not only recognise other cars, but motorcycles as well.
In order to carry out the autonomous changing of lanes, several conditions must be met. The indicators must be switched on for at least two seconds, the radar cruise control and steering wheel assistance system must be actuated, the system must detect sufficient space to move for at least two seconds, the car must drive on a motorway with the Command Online navigation system on, and the driving speed must be between 80 and 100 kilometres per hour. If the system detects a dangerous obstacle, it will switch off automatically.
The first model to be equipped with the Active Lane Change Assist system as part of the Drive Pilot assistance set is the new E-class Mercedes Benz, set for launch in spring.