The cars in question can 'think'- with the ability to see, sense and act on their own accord as required. For example, cameras will be able to identify critical situations, optimize headlight illumination after dark, or tell whether or not the vehicle has left its lane.
Lane departure warning systems are popular this year, and Mercedes will introduce a camera-based system called Lane Keeping Assist. Using a forward looking camera, Lane Keeping Assist takes several factors into consideration to determine if the vehicle has unintentionally left its side of the road. If it does, the driver is warned by a series of pulses on the steering wheel.
An Attention Assist function is designed to monitor driver behavior and warn them when their concentration and alertness begins to slip. By observing usage of the turn signals, steering, braking and other controls, it can warn tired drivers to get some rest before they cause an accident. If the Attention Assist function thinks you're nodding off, it displays a "BREAK!" message in the instrument cluster.
Radar guided distance control, automatic braking, pre-accident warnings and a full suite of airbags will also benefit shoppers of the 2009 E-Class and S-Class. The models go on sale this spring.