Next year’s E-Class will be a tech-fest. We lift the lid.
Next year’s Mercedes E-Class is primed to evolve ‘in-car connectivity’ and autonomous driving to the next level, says a report in Automotive News Europe this week. Thomas Weber, Daimler’s head of development, told ANE journalists; “Innovations in this area are coming thick and fast,”. Just how thick and how fast Sindelfingen’s 2016 mid-liner will be, DTW can now exclusively reveal.
Amongst the options available on the E-Class will be Mercedes’ Dynamic Lighting Assistant (DLA), which syncs with the car’s audio system to provide alternative ‘Ambient’, ‘Rave’ or ‘Lighters-Aloft’ lighting moods, depending on whether the driver is listening to Miles Davis, The Prodigy or (heaven help us), Ed Sherran. DLA also ties in the driver’s smartphone, matching interior lighting with their social media status. (Engineers however are struggling to find one to successfully reflect Facebook’s ‘It’s Complicated’ setting.)
The E-Class will also début Mercedes’ Intelligent Congestion Assist which automatically follows the vehicle in front at speeds of up to 40 mph, even if the route involves direction and lane changes. There remain a few bugs to iron out – prototypes currently inexplicably over-ride driver inputs, aggressively tailgating lone females in white Kia Sorrentos while playing Radiohead’s Creep on repeat. Some waggish engineers are said to have dubbed it ‘Stalker Assistant’.
Mercedes engineers are said to be particularly excited about the option of Magic Ride Illusion (MRI). A derivation of Magic Ride, MRI employs lasers to adjust suspension settings in accordance with real-time instructions from illusionist, David Blaine. Daimler sources tell us this has the potential to transform every journey into a vacuous multi-media event about nothing in particular. However, rumours of a ‘Magic Roundabout Assistant’ have been dismissed as ‘utter fantasy’ by a Mercedes spokesman mounted on a giant spring before informing everyone it was time for bed.
Intelligent Car Communications is a car-to-car system which relays messages like “nice wheels” or “your rear haunches don’t arf give me the ‘orn” – ICC also permits partially autonomous driving though brief steering, brake and acceleration inputs – the ‘Random Lane Change’ or ‘Driving Like an Absolute Tart Assistant’. An additional feature syncs with the car’s own social media settings, allowing followers to comment on its driving – 149 people liked the way I pulled out of that junction…
Not yet confirmed for launch is Critical Parent Control; an innovative system which critiques the driver’s appearance by flashing up admonishments like… “I’m afraid I can’t let you go out dressed like that, Dave” or “you do realise EVERYBODY knows you‘re botoxed to the eyeballs?” There have been reports of cars refusing to start until the driver goes back inside and changes. CPC promises to provide owners with a check on their vanity, and has been said to have already reduced Gorden Wagener to a blubbering wreck.
It’s all terribly exciting, as I’m sure you’ll agree. Obviously these electronic assistants will prove a major contribution to road safety. Well perhaps not road safety exactly, but definitely a major contribution to something. If nothing else, it gives Georg Kacher something to write about.