Mercedes Unveils Blizzard-Busting Crosswind Assist Technology

The new system helps maintain lane control in treacherous high-wind situations.

Just in time for Winter Storm Jonas, Mercedes-Benz has unveiled its Crosswind Assist technology which automatically stabilizes cars when they are blasted off course by side winds.

The problem is worst in the kind of tall SUVs that are otherwise ideal for driving on snowy roads, so Crosswind Assist is perfect for the Mercedes GLS crossover SUV.

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For a test of the new tech, I used the Mercedes Metris van for its ever larger sail area. In cross winds the National Weather Service reported at 37 mph and while driving about 70 mph, the Metris was heavily buffeted. 

From time to time, the Crosswind Assist alert would display on the vehicle’s instrument panel, but there was no obvious feeling that the computer was helping the car stay on course.

Crosswind Assist works by detected body motion and steering inputs that indicate the car is fighting a crosswind, and it responds using the electric power steering, brakes and active suspension to nudge the car back on course.

When the indicator illuminated, there was never any discernible action. Other times, the electronic stability control system also seemed to intervene, because the Crosswind Assist indicator did not appear. But I could feel the automatic braking help stabilize the vehicle.

Currently, Mercedes installs Crosswind Assist on the C-Class, E-Class, and S-Class sedans, the GLC and GLS SUVs, Metris and Sprinter vans and the Smart Fortwo minicar. 

When fighting heavily-hyped winter storms, it is reassuring to know that Mercedes’ computer wizardry is there to help prevent any mistakes. Lets be careful out there, people.

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