Sindelfingen, Germany – Mercedes-Benz has announced a new addition to its Active Night View Assist Plus which includes a spotlight to warn both drivers and pedestrians of dangers on the road. The system, which can detect people and warn the driver via a screen on the dash, will specifically direct light to people on the road. The company will add the new spotlight function to a luxury-class Mercedes model in Europe beginning in the summer of 2011.
According to research by the German Federal Highway Research Institute, five times as many pedestrians are killed on country roads at night than during the day, and although only 20 per cent of car journeys take place at night, it is during this time that 40 per cent of fatal incidents occur.
If the night vision camera detects people on or near the road, they are automatically flashed with the spotlight function to alert the driver to the potential danger, which also warns the pedestrians to be alert to the approaching car. The spotlight does not come on if other drivers are travelling in front of the car or approaching in the opposite direction near the pedestrian, to avoid blinding other drivers.
“Just like many other safety innovations from Mercedes-Benz, the new spotlight function forming part of the Active Night View Assist Plus is geared towards how accidents actually occur,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, head of development for Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The aim of this development was to prevent the particularly serious consequences of collisions with pedestrians at night. With this concept, a Mercedes-Benz fitted with the spotlight function not only protects its occupants, but also makes a significant contribution towards enhancing safety for other road users.”
The original Active Night Assist was introduced in 2005 and currently, more than half of global orders for the S-Class include the system.