Mercedes-Benz introduced an interesting new safety system for its new Sprinter vans this week here in Dusselsorf, Germany – a technology called Crosswind Assist, which is designed to detect forces acting on the van via data supplied by sensors for yaw rate and lateral acceleration connected to the vehicles electronic stability program (ESP) braking system.
Activated once the van exceeds some 50 mph, Crosswind Assist is designed to help drivers keep their Sprinter vans steady and on course in the vent of sudden crosswinds that can occur on bridges or in other exposed highway areas.
What happens is, if such crosswinds are detected, the system specifically applies the brakes to the wheels on the side of the vehicle facing the wind – preventing the vehicle from drifting off course into other lanes of traffic. Interestingly, Sprinter said if the driver attempts to manually correct the vehicle’s path due to crosswind activity via “counter-steering,” the system will reduce its level of intervention automatically.
Crosswind Assist is one of five new safety systems Mercedes-Benz is offering for its new Sprinter van, one that it plans to make standard going forward. In gusty roadway situations, it might be nice to have such a “steadying” influence.
We’ll see what Sprinter customers think about it.