Good to know | 17 January 2017

2017 Car Tech Trends

At this year's North American International Auto Show, popularly known as the Detroit Auto Show, on the shores of Lake Michigan, Mercedes-Benz revealed a striking addition to its Mercedes-AMG GT portfolio.

The Mercedes-AMG GT C is the fourth derivative of Affalterbach's portfolio of super sportscars. Beyond its 410 kW, 4-litre bi-turbo V8, the technical innovation to note is four-wheel steering, where the rear wheels are able to steer slightly in parallel – or opposite – to the front wheels to an angle of 1.5 degrees.  

So what are the advantages? Many. Those embarrassing three-point-turn parking moments in front of your favourite urban haunt will be a thing of the past, as the GT C's opposite-steering rear wheels make it super easy to park. At high speeds the action is parallel, with the rear wheels following in angle to the front wheels to buoy stability. 

And there's more. At the 2017 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada, Mercedes-Benz announced that staggering upgrades have been made to Drive Pilot (available since last year on E-Class), furthering the vision of the company's interpretation of autonomous driving. 

Due to début in the updated Mercedes-Benz S-Class later this year, the system upgrade will be capable of executing 80% of driver tasks (the current E-Class Drive Pilot is limited to 20%). A combination of better sensors, cameras, greater GPS accuracy and interactive mapping will allow the reloaded Drive Pilot to steer autonomously into and around corners in a way unimagined for a production car.  

Former Mercedes-Benz Research & Development director Ola Källenius is adamant that by 2022 more than half the brand's vehicle offerings will feature Drive Pilot 2.0. Mercedes-Benz has also developed new luminescence technology for its headlights, totalling in excess of a million micro mirrors, capable of previously unthinkable light shaping and projection abilities. 

Projecting a zebra crossing onto a dark road to indicate safe passage for pedestrians? Entirely possible. Avoiding momentary blindness by shaping light around pedestrians, making them visible without illuminating their faces? That too. There's even the theoretical possibility of using Mercedes-Benz's latest light technology as a projector on your garage wall if your TV isn't up to scratch. 

The vision of hands-free driving is becoming a reality...

Keep up to date with Mercedes-Benz news here.

Lance Branquinho

Lance Branquinho is a Namibian-born writer and photographer based in Cape Town.

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