Mercedes-Benz has taken the level of safety offered in its cars up a notch by rolling out radar-based safety features in some of its vehicles in India. The luxury automaker rolled out an array of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems with the launch of the Mercedes-Maybach S 650 and S 560 at Auto Expo 2018, and more recently with the introduction of the S 350d facelift.
Mercedes now joins Swedish carmaker Volvo, which was the first carmaker in India to offer radar-based safety technology with the XC90 T8 Excellence back in 2016.
Talking about the safety features, Mercedes has equipped the S 650, S 560 and S 350d with driver aids such as Active Distance Assist which controls the distance to the vehicle in front up to 210kph and applies brakes, if necessary. Active Steering Assist helps the driver keep the vehicle in the centre of its lane on straight stretches of road. Under Active Braking Assist, the system detects slower-moving traffic and stationary vehicles using radar sensors and the stereo camera, and in an emergency situation, boosts braking and even applies full brakes, if needed.
Other features making their way into these Merc's are Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist that warn the driver when the car moves away from its lane unintentionally, or if there is a risk of a collision with other vehicles when changing lanes.
While these driver assistance aids are a welcome addition, Mercedes has not rolled out the entire gamut of features offered in its vehicles in the international market. These include Evasive Steering Assist, Remote Parking Assist and the famed Magic Body Control. The latter scans the road ahead, recognises road bumps and sets up the suspension in advance to manage them.
The German carmaker has been unable to introduce these features due to the limitations set by the Indian government on the usage of radar frequency bands. While the government delicensed frequency bands in the range of 36-38 MHz, 433-434.79 MHz, 302-351 kHz and 76-77 GHz in 2015, they continue to reserve 24 and 79 GHz, required by Mercedes to offer additional driving aids. However, the delicensed frequency bands are adequate for Volvo to roll out its radar-based features.
Autocar India has learned that apex automotive body Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has written to the Department of Telecommunication to delicense more frequencies for automotive application. This should benefit more car manufacturers, including luxury brands such as BMW and Audi, and help them roll out advanced driver aids on their vehicles in India.