Sensory atmosphere generator
It joins the previous paragraph, namely that by playing on several of our senses we can create very exotic atmospheres and sensations.
At Mercedes, we therefore have the choice via the interface, and this will simultaneously trigger the massage, the release of odors (refills to be purchased at the dealership), certain sounds, the ventilation or the heating of the seats, the lights of ambience and even subwoofers to transmit certain vibrations to you.
It’s an option very much in tune with our time, namely disconnecting ourselves from a reality that has become almost unlivable since Man has shaped and degraded it (because let’s face it, the modern world created by humanity , or rather part of it, has become nauseous. Of course I am not questioning progress, but rather the rules that govern our relations and that shape our local environment: concrete and more concrete, all mixed together in the subway intense sleep job for the “little” people [to whom we leave almost nothing] … In short, another small aside off topic, sorry).
Inaugurated by BMW in its 2015 7 Series, the idea has of course been taken up since. The goal here is not to control the car by voice but by gesture. The cameras observe you and a computer interprets all this to activate or not certain functions. However, it is unconvincing in reality, and it is easier to fiddle with buttons than to make big gestures! A shortcut that ultimately lengthens the path…
Artificial intelligence that takes initiatives on its own
If voice commands have been around for almost 20 years, they are finally starting to be a little consistent, namely that they are finally starting to understand and be able to do a lot of things. It is the workhorse of the Mercedes and BMW brands mainly, Audi taking a little time to react.
But beyond responding to your requests, it now goes even further, namely that the car observes you and will react on its own according to some of your gestures. For example, if you are looking towards the rear and the sun visor is deployed, the computer will therefore decide to retract in order to clear the view. At Tesla it goes even further (well no, for this function only) with the forward and reverse gears which will be decided by the computer (we can indeed manage them ourselves, but sometimes it will be the computer which will guess it and you will change it. The goal is to save on a knob / gear lever, the clever ones!).
Communication between vehicles
We’ve been talking about it for a long time but it’s an application that is finally coming into service, namely communication between vehicles to warn of an accident or even quite simply of significant slowdowns to come (sometimes after a bend in the blind). It all started with the manufacturer’s obligation to install an SOS call in all new cars. He therefore followed the direct communication between the cars to communicate certain information that could avoid accidents
Floor projection of images to communicate
With the generalization of laser headlights, it is possible to display very precise and well outlined images on the ground (with incandescent or even Xenon it is not very easy). Mercedes (or Audi) therefore had the idea of using the thing to communicate with the outside world or even the driver.
This is therefore in addition to the augmented reality system which does a bit of the same thing. If for example, on a country road at night there is a pedestrian walking by the side of the road, an arrow (here four circles ..) will be drawn on the road to indicate the position of the pedestrian. This arrow is therefore there to catch your eye and read the information. This also allows you to draw a virtual pedestrian crossing on the road to indicate to them that they can cross in front of you. Of course there are a whole myriad of functionalities that I do not expose here.
If the previous S-Class of 2013 had inaugurated the Collision Prevention Assist which makes it possible to limit the damage following an accident, the 2021 version goes even further (it’s the trade… Because progress would be much faster if the aspect did not come into play, as in terms of health … Healing everyone and quickly is not very profitable).
Remember that the 2013 generation made it possible to react preventively to the sight of an accident. Thanks to the cameras and sensors, the car can sometimes guess that there is a high risk of collision (brake associated with an obstacle in rapid approach for example), and it therefore reacted by tightening the seat belts and closing all the windows. , without forgetting the position of the seat which is oriented differently to limit concussions linked to excessive deceleration (in reality acceleration and deceleration are exactly the same thing, namely that there is no difference despite the fact that intuitively one might think the opposite. And besides, when you’re sitting somewhere doing nothing, you’re actually accelerating continuously…).
On this new generation of Class S (but also A8), we take advantage of a mode that allows the car to jump upwards (8 cm on the Mercedes) in the event of side impact detection (it also propels you towards the center of the passenger compartment thanks to the side airbags of the seats intended at the base to hold you in bends). Indeed, instead of it being the doors that absorb kinetic energy, it will be the underbody… Indeed, this area is one of the most rigid parts of the hull chassis, and it is therefore smarter to direct the shock towards this destination. And if we no longer really take advantage of the progressive deformation of the doors (which absorb shock better than the very rigid sills)
Active Collision Avoidance
Whether it is to get your vehicle out of a parking space in reverse or even to get out of your vehicle yourself, cameras and radar devices are used to avoid accidents.
For the car park exit, it is therefore the radars/lidars and peripheral cameras that can warn you that a car or other is coming your way. In this case there is an alert and sometimes even an automatic application of the brakes so that you do not continue your progression towards the accident.
It’s the same thing for any occupant who wants to leave the car when something is about to happen. There is then a visual alert (triangle in the rearview mirror + side door ambient lighting) followed by a blocking of the door if you do not
Multiplication of airbags
We knew about front and side/curtain airbags, we now have to deal with belt, central and rear front airbags…
So we now have belts that inflate in the event of an impact, but also airbags located in the backs of the seats front so that the rear passengers also benefit from a front airbag. Let’s not forget either the central airbag located between the front occupants so that they do not collide against each other
Is your sciatica ruining your life? Sitting down and getting out of your car makes you suffer? The German brands have found the solution by using the air suspension wisely.
The car therefore perches as high as possible so you don’t have to contort yourself. So there is no longer any need to buy an SUV to save your back, sedans can now be just as pleasant, although you still have to use the A8 side… A bit expensive for the budget from some.
Note that a variation exists to load your car: the rear lowers so that the loading threshold is lower.
Active Curve (car that leans into turns)
At Mercedes we were very creative about everything we could do with an air suspension, in any case more than at Citroën where we abandoned this kind of motivation almost half a century ago (we find ourselves with the banal hydraulic stop, sad) …
Here we are therefore dealing with the Active Curve device from Mercedes which allows the car to lean like a motorcycle in turns. Deactivatable, it therefore allows you to slightly limit the movements of the body which send you towards the outside of the bend, while increasing comfort (I remind you that this method is used in certain trains to erase the bends as much as possible).
Active seat support
It’s not all new, but some cars have side air cushions in the seats that can inflate to modulate body support when cornering. If it turns left and I take turns quickly, the right part of my seat will inflate to hold my body.
Since we are on the air suspension of Mercedes let’s continue the overview… Here it is once again a feature far from being stupid, namely giving the possibility to the car to make small leaps on it -same. When you’re stuck it makes all the difference, and you can therefore get out of this misadventure without even getting out of the car.
On the G-Class 6X6, we have an integrated device with a compressor that allows you to inflate and deflate the tires from the passenger compartment. The goal here is to be able to evolve as well as possible in the sand or even on very stony ground, because it is well known that you gain traction when the tires are deflated (it also allows you to pass under a bridge or parking lot too low … A very well-known method among truckers).
Increasingly widespread, rear-wheel steering is becoming even more functional as time goes by. While we were used to angles that are limited to a maximum of 5°, the S-Class now goes up to 8°, which allows you to have the agility that approaches that of a Fenwick! Maneuvers in town and for parking are then greatly favored. Even better, some cars go so far as to turn the rear wheels in the same direction in the event of emergency braking. Putting the wheels on like a skier doing the snowplough therefore increases the braking force even more.
Active anti-roll bar
Not easy to adjust the anti-roll bars … A little too tight and rigor will be favored to the detriment of comfort and vice versa.
On the top of the range, we therefore had the idea of making them controllable , with a device that serves them more or less. All this is once again offered by the equipment manufacturers, the brands do not have fun developing this kind of thing (except perhaps with certain large groups like Daimler)
Once again, Mercedes goes to the end of things by equipping its air suspension circuit with “deactivatable” spheres (it is a question of isolating them from the rest of the circuit so as not to take advantage of the flexibility offered by the latter). We can therefore have a suspension that can be both very flexible and very rigid. The more spheres you have, the more you will have a reserve of compressible gas, and therefore flexibility (like a very soft spring). The fewer spheres you have, the less air you will have available to compress, and therefore a very hard suspension. It is here a hundred times more effective than the controlled dampers which just stiffen the reactions of the running gear (in the end it is more hectic than it stiffens the running gear), and not what suspends the car (the coil springs).
Suspension that reads the road
With the generalization of stereo cameras located at the level of the rear view mirror, it is now possible to read the road precisely.
As a result, some manufacturers (notably Mercedes and DS) use it to inform the controlled suspension computer of bumps and holes to come. This therefore makes it possible to soften the running gear on the fly to limit impacts as much as possible.
Note here that Mercedes’ Magic Body Control inaugurated in the early 2010s uses this with incredible efficiency and that we are then dealing with a suspension that outclasses everything on Earth, even on the Rolls Royce side. .. And basically at Mercedes we seem to like to innovate more than anywhere else. Even Tesla seems a little has been on this side
Let’s finish by specifying that the car remembers the location of the bumps in order to react in the same way to my next passage, and it’s the same thing to cross obstacles. For example, if the threshold of your gate requires raising the level of the car, it will remember it the next time and there will be no need to use the lift manually.
Reinforced motor skills
Intended to compensate for the lack of all-wheel drive, the enhanced traction provided by the GripControl and ExtendedGrip systems therefore make it possible to compensate a little for the technical delay of certain brands (especially French). Despite everything, the effect of the thing is more important on the psychology than the motor skills themselves .. Marketing delights …
This is the fashionable toy, namely autonomous cars . The goal here is to assist the driver or to fully control the car, depending on the different levels of autonomy ranging from 1 to 5 . Stereo cameras coupled with lidar read the environment and the computer then seeks to evolve in it (exactly like the traffic of NPCs in a GTA or other video game for that matter).
If some believe that this technology is for tomorrow, others have serious doubts. For my part, I remain open although I find myself a little more in the second camp.
Remember that it all started with the automatic car park that did the slots for you.
Today, the law imposes the break assist, and in good French the automatic emergency braking in the event of obstacle detection. But some brands are well aware that many people don’t know about it, so they communicate by pretending that they are offering it to you free of charge as standard…
It’s a little like the autopilot, because you need the elements that allow it to work: electric steering (so that the computer can control it), By wire brakes or controllable master cylinder, stereo/lidar camera and electronic injection/throttle to manage the gas (on an electric one you just have to have control of the power electronics which manages the current sent to the stator).
In short, the well-known summon at Tesla was inaugurated on the Bmw 7 Series in 2015.
Remote control (bis)
Beyond controlling your car remotely to move it, you can manage certain features from your smartphone. The first thing to think about is heating and air conditioning.
Because if on older cars we sometimes had an integrated webasto (sedans/luxury limousines), now we are dealing more with an electric air conditioning compressor, namely that it contains a motor instead of being driven by the pulley Damper. But for that you need a minimum of hybridization, because it is not the 12V service battery that would allow you to do that.
Introduced by Tesla, this equipment is likely to become the norm among competitors. With the cameras used to manage the autopilot, the brand thought it would not be silly to use it as a dashcam but also to monitor the car when stationary. With each movement detected near the car, the cameras begin to film and record everything on a hard drive. Then just download and view them.
Spatialization of the environment
The 3D representation of the car in its environment is something fabulous to maneuver… So you see your car as if you had an exterior camera filming from a drone. But if it works well in large spaces, it is much less convincing in more confined environments where the generated image is much less faithful (many and unsightly distortions).
This is therefore the 360 degree view which is becoming widespread.
Invented by BMW in 2019 and copied by competitors, it involves asking the car to retrace its steps in reverse automatically. The car recorded the last 50 meters and reversed them. This comes in handy when you’ve gotten into a dead end because it’s easy to turn around.
Matrix LED headlights
Arrived around 2015, Matrix LED headlights go even further than automatic headlights which are code or headlight depending on the context.
Here we have matrix lighting (matrix = orthonormal, or even non-orthonormal reference mark, etc.), namely like dozens of small lamps which each light up a small stretch of road. The front camera of the car then determines the position of cars coming in the wrong direction to turn off the lamps that empty its position, which allows you to stay in full headlight while keeping the cars you pass in the dark. This system can also work by masking the part of the beam in which the car coming from opposite is located (instead of turning off the LEDs, we obstruct part of the light beam, but you need laser lights for that, because they make it possible to control finer beams of light and therefore gain in precision on the delimitation of the lighting).
Allowing to illuminate further than ever (500 meters against 100 for the incandescent bulb) while being able to draw patterns on the road, laser headlights are therefore taking precedence over modern cars. It remains to be seen whether this bazaar is “ecologically friendly”… Because sometimes better is a simple light bulb which is not very harmful to nature than a complex device which induces a whole heap of pollution during construction and dismantling. And to think that we are overtaxed for a few grams when we authorize the design of this kind of thing and the general increase in the weight of cars.
Active cooling with active air shutters
With the increased importance of pollutant emissions, manufacturers are doubling their creativity to try to reduce them as much as possible (despite the fact that at the same time some are tampering with their calculators to cheat at controls… If we knew everything…). The objective here, and it will also be very useful for hybrids, is to accelerate engine warm-up as much as possible. We already knew the famous thermostat which opens the water circuit on a larger range, but here we go to another level by installing movable shutters in front of the radiators. The goal is to confine them (with a mask!) so that they do not receive fresh air from outside. As soon as the engine reaches temperature they are then opened to regulate the latter and remain in an optimal range.
Who said that electric cars did not require an air intake intended to cool elements? When there is energy there is necessarily heat, even if the electric motors manage not to lose too much energy in calories (efficiency of 90%, therefore loss of 10% in heat against more than 50% on a therma