Mercedes-Benz unveils pothole-detecting cars

When the car registers a pothole, Car-to-X sends the information to the Mercedes Cloud.
When the car registers a pothole, Car-to-X sends the information to the Mercedes Cloud.
Image: Reuters

Mercedes-Benz has launched cars that are able to detect potholes and speed bumps and warn other Mercedes drivers in the vicinity.

The new C-Class, S-Class and electrically-powered EQS have been given these functions as part of their Car-to-X Communication, a technology that lets a car communicate with other vehicles or infrastructure in its near surroundings.

The Mercedes cars can detect potholes when driving over them when a certain threshold value is reached by the suspension compressing.

When the car registers a pothole or speed bump, Car-to-X sends the information to the Mercedes Cloud in real time via a mobile phone network, together with positional data. Mercedes cars in the vicinity are informed, and the hazards are displayed with icons on the navigation map.

About 10 seconds before the section is reached, an audible warning is given and the icon is visually highlighted.

Warnings are given with the voice output "Traffic event ahead". In the new C-Class, S-Class and EQS, the audible warning is "Look out, pothole!" or "Attention, speed bump". The new alerts are available in selected markets worldwide, and in all 36 languages recognised by the infotainment system.

Mercedes cars produced from 2016 onwards can receive the warning information. To use Car-to-X, the customer must have a Mercedes me connect account and must have activated the service.

Another Car-to-X function from Mercedes-Benz uses the information from Crosswind Assist. If this assistance system becomes active in the event of a strong crosswind, and supports the driver with targeted braking or steering interventions, the Mercedes-Benz Cloud is notified and drivers following behind can be warned of gusts.

Because the sensors of other cars are also used, the Car-to-X technology significantly expands the coverage of the vehicle's own sensor technology, for example the radar or camera systems. The Car-to-X technology allows "a look around the corner".

Since 2016, Car-to-X Communication has been installed as standard in combination with navigation systems – initially in the E-Class and now in all Mercedes vehicles. The service is available free of charge for the first three years, and can be renewed on payment of a fee.

The new Mercedes C-Class is being launched in SA in November, and the S-Class early next year.