Symbiosis of humans and technology. | Mercedes-Benz Vans
A Mercedes-Benz Sprinter in a darkened test room with visualised sensor rays

Symbiosis of humans and technology: the van as an extension of the perceived horizon.

Thick fog, unclear junctions, steep turns – when our senses reach their limits, the sensor system comes into play. In the same way that seeing, hearing or feeling are the results of highly complex processes, a Mercedes-Benz van also puts together thousands of pieces of information in fractions of a second to form a meaningful whole.

Sensors: the electronic sensory organs.

The sensors of a vehicle detect what a human cannot. Camera, microphones, radar, ultrasonic and lidar sensors are used in Mercedes-Benz vans. They observe the surroundings. And these raw sensor data are interpreted with the aid of perception algorithms. They evaluate distances, obstacles and discernible objects. Continually and in real time, at a standstill and in dynamic driving situations. This means that the safety and assistance systems in Mercedes-Benz vans become the eyes, ears and antennae of the driver.

I spy with my little eye.

The sensor system lends Mercedes-Benz vans an electronic sense.

Room survey.

This is made possible first and foremost by radar sensors. They scan the conditions in the extensive surroundings and measure distances with regard to speed. To this end the system sends electromagnetic radiowaves in the radio frequency range as a primary signal. Objects in the space reflect these waves and return them as an echo. This kind of environment surveying is familiar from the animal kingdom. For example, this is also how bats orientate themselves using sound waves and echo signals.
This method is indispensable above all for the way in which Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC works. The radar sensor in the front bumper measures the ideal distance to the vehicle in front as well as the relative speed of the vehicles to one another. This ensures that your van always maintains the required distance, plus it can also take over braking and pulling away automatically. Ultrasonic sensors are used as well as radar sensors. They have a shorter range and are therefore superb for monitoring the blind spot, for instance.


Taking in the surroundings.

Lidar sensors are relevant, for example, for braking assistance systems such as Active Brake Assist. They emit rays of light whose data provide information on distances and obstacles in the vicinity. Cameras work with video sensors and image recognition software. It is therefore possible to differentiate between a car in front and a moving animal or a tree, for instance. A camera behind the windscreen films the road in front. This means that the Active Lane Keeping Assist can warn the driver of unintentional drifting. Individual sensor fields of vision overlap and support one another. The next stage sees our greatest technical challenge: with what is known as sensor fusion, an interplay is created in which the various sensors complement one another optimally.



Electronic feelers.

Various components such as radar sensors or lidar sensors provide information on obstacles ahead.

The role of the driver.

The sensor processes which run in the background in a Mercedes-Benz van are highly complex. But the information the driver ultimately receives is immediately comprehensible. Through interactive assistance and safety systems, the vehicle activates its senses: it can hear, see or feel things. It does this when information gathered and processed by the sensors points towards dangerous situations. and the need for specific reactions to be triggered. This is because, despite state-of-the-art technology, the driver always remains actively involved in what is happening.


Humans and technology: a strong team.

The radar-based Blind Spot Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert supports the driver when indicating a lane change and when reverse parking. When an object enters the blind spot the system sounds a loud audible warning and flashes a red warning signal in the outside mirror. The digital outside mirror with an integrated 360-degree camera allows a view of obstructed angles of vision. If the driver leaves the lane, Active Lane Keeping Assist makes the steering wheel vibrate with increasing intensity – until corrective action is taken. Another example of sensors at work can be found in the ultrasonic sensors used for Active Parking Assist PARKTRONIC which are installed in the front and rear bumpers. This system uses audible and visual signals to warn of objects that are otherwise difficult to detect.




Keeping an eye on everything.

The digital inside rearview mirror opens up an extended viewing angle to the rear by displaying an image from the camera.

Sensor technology as a seventh sense.

For Mercedes-Benz Vans the focus is always on vehicle safety. Sensors play an essential role here – they are the basis of nearly all safety and assistance systems. In this way the sensor system extends the horizon of perception and the possibilities of the human senses. In future we will be taking one step further: the aim is to make entire sensor networks capable of communicating with one another. Within the technology of cooperative sensors, alongside environmental sensors, the transport infrastructure sensors will also be involved. This creates a global network of traffic-relevant information exchange. Ultimately we are succeeding more and more when it comes to the interplay of humans and technology in order to use sophisticated sensor technology in perfect symbiosis for better safety on the roads.

Monitoring of the blind spot.

The radar-based Blind Spot Assist with Rear Cross Traffic Alert provides support in areas with obstructed vision.

Safe at a distance.

Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC always keeps an eye on the required safe distance.

All-round visibility

With the 360° camera Mercedes-Benz vans always have an all-round overview.


Daimler Global Media