The ability to detect pedestrians on the road and highlight them on the display in the instrument cluster has been a feature of the Active Night View Assist system since 2009. Now, the technology goes a step further by highlighting a moving figure on the side of the road, such as a pedestrian, cyclist, a deer, or some other obstacle.
The system shines a spotlight on the so-called target, which effectively alerts both of you. The pedestrian, cyclist or deer gets caught in the headlights, alerting him, her or it of your approach. The driver sees the figure bathed in a halo of xenon light, and for good measure you also get a notice on your dashboard.
This new feature could save a lot of lives. According to research by the German Federal Highway Research Institute, the German version of the US National Highway Traffic Safety Institute (NHTSA), five times as many pedestrians are killed on country roads at night than during the day. And, while only 20 percentof car journeys take place at night, this is when 40 percent of fatal accidents occur.
The new spotlight function will be included as part of the night view package. It uses infrared technology to detect pedestrians as far away as 250 feet, and works at speeds above 30 mph.Recently, Meredes announced it will make its Xenon headlights even brighter on E-Class and S-Class models.
There’s no word yet on whether this will increase the cost of the Active Night View Assist system, which currently is available on higher-priced Mercedes models.
This is the kind of technology advance that trickles down once it captures public acceptance and demand builds. Think ABS, traction control, even dimming sideview mirrors.