Automotive developments

I can hardly wait for cars that drive themselves.  That will come, but in the meantime luxury car makers like Mercedes-Benz are putting more and more gadgets on their top-of-the-line models.

From NBC News

There was a time when luxury cars were defined by their sheer size and mass, their power, performance and, of course, exclusive details like leather seats and wood trim.

Those factors distinguish the 2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, but there’s more to the redefined German flagship that fit the changing nature of the auto industry. From its LED lamps to the 3D cameras, radar and night vision systems that allow the new sedan to virtually drive itself, the new S-Class is a technical tour de force that will likely have competitors racing to catch up….

Mercedes officials noted that it will be the first automobile to dispense with conventional light bulbs, opting instead for more advanced LED technology for everything from the head to taillights, and all those small indicators, reading lamps and mood lights in-between. All told, there are 300 LEDs in the interior alone, 56 in each headlamp and another 25 in each taillight. Oh, and you can choose from seven different colors for the interior lighting, with five dimmer levels and four distinct lighting zones….

There’s the latest version of the Mercedes Distronic technology, using both cameras and radar to monitor the vehicle’s surroundings. It allows the new S-Class to keep pace with traffic, come to a complete stop in a tie-up and then start rolling again. It triggers the brakes if a collision seems likely and even turns on the flashers when one does occur.

The latest in lane departure warning systems will even take control if a drowsy driver starts to drift into an adjacent lane.

The good news is that these development are finding their way quickly into lower end cars.  The Ford Escape, costing less than one-quarter of this Mercedes S-class, will park itself and has adjustable mood lighting.  How long can it be before all these high-end goodies will be found in your car?

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