THE New Sprinter from Mercedes-Benz is packed with technology designed to make the company’s flagship van safer than ever.
Already promising rock-bottom running costs, the new Sprinter features world first advanced safety features to help prevent accidents, says Mercedes-Benz.
The Sprinter’s new safety features are:
- Crosswind Assist,
- Collision Prevention Assist,
- Blind Spot Assist,
- Highbeam Assist and
- Lane Keeping Assist.
The new Sprinter is the first van to feature Crosswind Assist, which is included in the standard specification initially for the closed variants up to 3.5 tonnes, with heavier and open model variants to follow.
Crosswind Assist almost fully compensates for the effects of side winds on the vehicle, reducing the need for counter-steering after sudden gusts. Crosswind Assist is based on the standard-fit Electronic Stability Program and is activated at speeds of 50mph and over.
The assistance system detects crosswinds and gusting wind by referencing data from the yaw rate and lateral acceleration sensors. The system brakes individual wheels on the side facing towards the wind to negate the buffeting effects.
Crosswind Assist also helps the driver to remain on course in the event of sudden crosswind – for example, on bridges or when overtaking trucks.
The system also takes into account the vehicle’s speed, load, load position and driver’s steering behaviour. If the driver performs manual counter-steering, Crosswind Assist will automatically reduce its level of intervention.
An indicator lamp shows intervention by the assist function, keeping the driver informed about the situation.
Collision Prevention Assist
Failure to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front is one of the most dangerous factors in the cause of road accidents. This is where Sprinter’s optional Collision Prevention Assist system – another first in this class – comes into operation.
Collision Prevention Assist – designed to help prevent rear-end collisions – consists of the proximity warning function and adaptive Brake Assist. It alerts the driver when the distance from the vehicle ahead becomes too small or if the driver is in acute danger of collision.
The proximity warning assistant is radar-based and helps the driver keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.
The bumper-mounted radar sensor continuously measures the distance from the vehicle ahead in the same lane and the relative speeds of the two vehicles using this information to calculate the correct safe distance.
The Sprinter’s Static proximity warning function triggers a warning lamp immediately a vehicle ahead is detected and the distance to that vehicle is below a specific limit, indicating that the distance is not safe.
And the dynamic proximity warning function is activated if the Sprinter approaches the vehicle ahead with a high difference in speed. Both visual and acoustic warnings are given, allowing the driver to carry out emergency braking or an evasive manoeuvre.
This function can be switched off if required.
Brake Assist pro provides emergency braking and is continuously active in the background, monitoring the Sprinter’s operating conditions and current driving situation.
Adaptive Brake Assist is activated after the dynamic proximity warning, when the Sprinter approaches a vehicle ahead of it and the driver fails to supply sufficient braking power to prevent a ‘rear-ender’.
Blind Spot Assist
Lane-changing in urban traffic, overtaking outside built-up areas and on the motorway all require drivers to make safety-critical decisions in seconds. The Sprinter is equipped with large exterior mirrors that have a wide field of vision further enhanced by wide-angle lenses.
Another new optional feature – Blind Spot Assist –additionally helps the driver by warning of other vehicles in the blind spot during lane changing.
The system employs four close-range radar sensors that cover the area of the neighbouring lanes. If the sensors detect a car or motorcycle in the blind spot while the vehicle is on the move, a red warning signal appears in the exterior mirror on the appropriate side.
If the driver activates the indicator intending to change lanes despite the warning, he or she receives an additional alert in the form of an acoustic signal and the red warning symbol begins flashing.
The Blind Spot Assist function is operational from a speed of around 18mph and can be deactivated by the driver.
Lane Keeping Assist
Involuntary lane changing, when a driver is distracted or inattentive, can be even more dangerous than careless lane changing. The optional Lane Keeping Assist function is designed to provide a warning in such cases.
The system uses a camera behind the windscreen that monitors the road ahead. The recorded data is continuously measured by identifying the road surface and markings by reference to differences in contrast.
If it appears that the Sprinter will cross the side marking without the driver using the indicator or without changes to the accelerator or brake pedal position, the control unit senses that the van is leaving its lane unintentionally and warns the driver with an acoustic signal.
Lane Keeping Assist is active from 37mph and also responds to yellow markings at construction sites as well as the white lines on the road. The driver can switch this assist system off as necessary, for example, when driving along narrow and winding country roads.
Driving in the dark can be particularly demanding so, with this in mind, the Sprinter is equipped with large, powerful headlamps and all models are optionally available with even more powerful bi-xenon headlamps.
The new Highbeam Assist feature is a first in the Sprinter’s class. It switches high beam on or off according to the given situation, making the course of the road, pedestrians or danger spots recognisable earlier. Highbeam Assist also reduces the possibility of dazzling drivers of oncoming traffic.
The system operates at vehicle speeds above 22mph and is available for halogen and bi-xenon headlamps.
The new assistance systems are grouped together in logically compiled driver assistance packages to make the choice of required functions easy.
The systems can also save operators money by helping prevent accidents and avoid expensive downtime, says Mercedes-Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz Bank offers lower business van insurance premiums when driver assistance packages are installed, and all-inclusive arrangements – comprising leasing, servicing and insurance, for example – are also available.