Mercedes-Benz has, according to the automaker, always strived to reach the perfect combination of comfort and safety. Regarding safety, it started ten years ago with Pre-Safe and continued with Distronic Plus; the next S-Class, debuting in 2013, will feature the latest update called “Intelligent Drive”.A decade ago, Pre-Safe ushered in a new era of vehicle safety with its ability to detect the risk of an accident occurring in advance and prepare both vehicle and passengers for a possible collision.The next S-Class, which premieres next year, will play its part as a guide for this technology considering its safety, assistance and lighting systems.'COMPREHENSIVE PROTECTION'Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber, head of Mercedes-Benz cars development, explained: "The intelligent assistance systems of the future will be able to analyse complex situations and recognise potential dangers out on the road with the aid of improved environment sensor systems even more accurately than today."Of crucial importance in this respect is the networking of all systems, or 'sensor fusion' as the safety experts call it. Mercedes-Benz is continually enhancing the performance capabilities of its assistance systems with the aim of ensuring comprehensive protection, not just for the occupants of a Mercedes-Benz, but for all other road users, too.”The new systems hold potential for either preventing accidents or mitigating their consequences according to Prof. Weber: "Take, for instance, the new BAS Plus assistance system with Cross-Traffic Assist. The results of our accident research based on the data from the GIDAS (German In-Depth Accident Study) indicate that it could either prevent or lessen the severity of 27% of all accidents at road junctions resulting in personal injury. That equates to some 20 000 accidents a year in Germany alone."INTELLIGENT DRIVESome of the “Intelligent Drive” features include: Distronic Plus with steering assist to help the driver to guide the vehicle in its lane, a brake assist system able to detect cross traffic and pedestrians, and Pre-Safe plus that recognises an imminent rear-end collision and prompts the system to trigger occupant protection measures. It can also firmly apply the stationary vehicle's brakes in the event of a rear-end collision to prevent secondary accidents. Active lane keeping sssist can detect oncoming traffic and when the adjacent lane is not clear, and prevent the vehicle from leaving its lane if it is not safe to do so. Attention assist can warn of inattentiveness and drowsiness and notify the driver of their current state of fatigue.