Mercedes adds to Car-X functionality with new driver warnings

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Mercedes says it has increased the capability of the Car-to-X functionality available in a range of vehicles produced since 2016, with the addition of pothole and speed bump detection.

According to the company, if a vehicle’s chassis control unit registers it passing over either of these road features, and the ‘Car-to-X Communication’ service is activated, the information is sent to the Mercedes-Benz cloud in real time via the cellular network, together with positional data. Other similarly connected Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in the vicinity are informed, and the events are displayed as icons on the navigation map. About 10 seconds before the relevant lane section is reached by a following car, an audible warning is given to the driver and the icon is visually highlighted.

In older vehicles, warnings are given with the familiar voice output ‘Traffic event ahead’, while in the new C-Class, S-Class and EQS models, the audible warning is ‘Look out, pothole!’ or ‘Attention, speed bump!’. Mercedes says the new alerts are now available in selected markets worldwide, and in all the 36 languages recognized by the infotainment system.

The company says it developed the new Car-to-X functions completely in-house. The pothole detection system was tested at the Immendingen Test and Technology Center (PTZ) in Germany, as well as in other locations. At PTZ, more than 30 test and trial tracks are available over an area of 520ha, including what are known as comfort tracks with bumps and potholes of all kinds.

The system is activated when a certain threshold value is reached during sudden suspension compression and rebound events. A similar suspension movement processing algorithm is used to detect speed bumps via analysis of the compression and rebound sequence.

Another Car-to-X function that Mercedes-Benz has added uses the information from the Crosswind Assist system. If this assistance system becomes active in the event of a strong crosswind, and supports the driver with targeted braking or steering interventions, the Mercedes-Benz cloud is also notified. Drivers following behind can therefore be specifically warned of gusts.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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