Mercedes-Benz has announced plans to introduce a new system that stops motorists driving the wrong way down a one-way street. Merc’s ‘wrong-way driver system’ uses cameras mounted to the windshield to detect road signs that prohibit vehicles entering particular stretches of road.
The cameras are already available on many high-end Mercedes-Benz vehicles, though in current cases they’re used to recognise signs for speed limits or work as part of a vehicle’s night vision system. The next-generation ‘wrong-way’ warning system will use cameras to detect one way and no entry street signs.
If the cameras detect such a sign, the car will quickly compare that visual data with information from the car’s navigation system to verify whether a road is off limits. If it thinks you’re about to do something silly, the car will issue three loud beeps and flash a red ‘no entry’ icon on the instrument panel to alert you to your stupidity.
Unfortunately, the system doesn’t work effectively in heavy snow. Extreme weather can reduce visibility, rendering it inoperable, which could be a bit of an issue if UK winters continue in the same vain. In such cases, the system will report to the driver that it is “temporarily unavailable.”
The announcement comes in response to a climbing death toll on German roads, due to drivers inadvertently driving against the flow of traffic. In the last three months, Germany has seen no less than twenty-five people killed because of so-called Geisterfahrer, or ‘phantom drivers’, as the Germans like to call them.
According to ADAC, Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club, 2,800 ‘wrong-way drivers’ are reported annually – more than seven a day.
The wrong-way warning system is due to be launched in the forthcoming facelifted Mercedes-Benz E-Class and the new S-Class, and will gradually be rolled out to other models to form part of Mercedes-Benz’s ‘Intelligent Drive’ suite of safety technologies.