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The Chocolate Fireguard as designed by Mercedes Benz

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CuP Alloys 126/04/2019 09:36:35
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192 forum posts

A heads up!

I recently bought a Mercedes A Class vehicle. It's Vehicle Identification Number tells me it was built in Finland on Sep 25 2018.

Fitted "as standard" to the A Class is a Speed Assist Programme. It's advertised function is to provide me with information that enables me to avoid exceeding the speed limit.

It gathers the information from a forward facing camera recording speed limit signs. It does not get information from the sat/nav.

All as per the 494 page manual.

The manual tells me that the system does not absolve me from any responsibility regarding the vehicle speed.

The manual does not tell me that the system ceases to provide any information if the vehicle makes a right or left turn at a road junction be it a T-junction or crossroad or roundabout. Information is not restored until the camera sees another road sign. The system cannot provide information in built up areas.

The manual does not tell me that the camera may not see a road sign unless the camera is square on to the sign.

The manual does not tell me that the system again ceases to provide any information 10 seconds after passing the sign of a black diagonal stripe on a white background denoting the National Speed Limit.

The manual does not tell me that the camera will operate in another mode such that the driver receives incorrect information. This includes telling me that a local dual carriageway has different speed limits (depending on the direction of travel) or that the speed limit is 30-mph (incorrect), or the speed limit through Chatsworth Country Park is 70mph (!) etc.

BUT,

I have emails from Mercedes Benz and a main dealer that this situation is normal. The emails go to great lengths to stress that the system is not failing. It is working exactly as designed. It is not an unusual scenario with the A Class

Like all "Assist" packages, they are there only for guidance. Mercedes Benz are in no way responsible for any result of a perceived malfunction in a system.

Look out for the door mirror mounted ash-tray and perfumed airbags!

The mind boggles as to the disclaimers for the much advertised forthcoming "Assist" packages that will make the roads safer that are being banded about. Packages that will make speeding offences impossible and rear end shunts a thing of the past.

No more accidents in the rain or fog.

And we have yet to see their progress on driverless cars!

Caveat emptor.

Regards

Keith

PS If anyone wishes to share similar experiences, please email me. This might be worth taking up with Trading Standards, HSE and Avertising Standards Agency

Plasma26/04/2019 09:42:57
326 forum posts
41 photos

My old friend used to say he'd never buy a car that was cleverer than him, I.e. putting the lights on when it got dark or putting the wipers on if it rained. He always said if you need the car to do this stuff for you then you shouldn't be driving.

Still surprising to see folk driving in pitch black without their lights on, or conversely driving what looks like a stage light show when its dusk.

I put it down to the lack of bobbies on patrol.

Hopper26/04/2019 09:56:53
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3651 forum posts
72 photos

Well, the system "assisted" them to get your money out of your pocket. It's done its job.

Rest assured their lawyers would have filled the manual and sales literature with enough weasel words (eg assist) that no complaint will stand up in court.

Tesla is leading the charge on this pie in the sky technology stuff. Apart from spontaneously combusting cars, they lost 1 Billion dollars (yes, billion) the first quarter this year, but today announced they plan to sell one million driverless taxis within the next year. Yeah, right.

The marketing spivs are one generation ahead of the engineers.

Edited By Hopper on 26/04/2019 09:57:51

Cabinet Enforcer26/04/2019 10:04:26
44 forum posts
2 photos

It's a driving aid, if you think it doesn't help you, turn it off or ignore it.

These systems are clearly being put in to test viability in the real world, and for now will err strongly on the side of caution where they can, so of course it isn't going to keep telling you something when it has had no recent inputs thinking

Steambuff26/04/2019 10:06:42
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498 forum posts
6 photos
Posted by CuP Alloys 1 on 26/04/2019 09:36:35:

It gathers the information from a forward facing camera recording speed limit signs. It does not get information from the sat/nav.

If it does not use GPS ... how doe it know what country you are in?

Signs km/hr or miles/hr (or a mix in Ireland)

Dave

duncan webster26/04/2019 10:15:07
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2161 forum posts
27 photos

My car is pretty low end, but it still attempts to second guess me all the time..

  1. When I worked in North Wales I lodged at a place 2 miles up a forestry track. I had no need of seeing out of the back window for about 10 minutes, plenty of time for the rear screen heater to clear the ice. The (cold) morning ritual was therefore chuck a bucket of warm water over the windscreen, jump in and drive away. If I made the mistake of using reverse, the computer decided to put on the rear wipers, and shred the rubber blades
  2. If I tried to use the heater to keep ice off the windscreen, setting the heater controls to direct the hot air to the screen turns on the air conditioning, thus directing colder air than otherwise
  3. Park in the supermarket, take out the keys (reflex action) and walk away, the car locks itself, trapping handicapped son inside. No you can't open the doors from inside
  4. Locking the doors turns the alarm on. Then the dog moves and sets it off. Yes I can go through a routine to turn it off, but do I ever remember?

I'm going to sort the last one by taking the fuse out. If this doesn't result in a blizzard of warning lights, I'll connect a wire with the fuse and a switch so I can turn the alarm on if I want it on. Come on Mr car manufacturer, if I'm not clever enough to work out when to turn on the rear wipers, the air con, the car alarm etc, I shouldn't really be driving

Ian McVickers26/04/2019 10:29:13
127 forum posts
69 photos

Maybe by the time it becomes law for them to be fitted by all manufacturers it will work correctly. My son recently passed his test and got his first car. To keep his insurance down, still £1300, he has a black box gps based system and an app on his phone which gives him scores out of 10 for various conditions like speed, smoothness and usage but he regularly has to phone them up because the gps continually reports him for speeding because it's not accurate enough. Couple of weeks ago he drove over a motorway flyover on a 30 road and the GPS reported him as doing 70.

Jim Nic26/04/2019 10:38:28
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200 forum posts
102 photos

My Honda Jazz has a similar speed limit recognition system to Keith's Merc but has a display of the limit recognised by the camera. When I bought the car I thought it might be useful to have a reminder of what the limit was always on display in this day and age when limits change seemingly on a whim many times on most stretches of apparently similar road. However the display turns off after a minute or so of the car recognising a speed sign so there is no lasting reminder.

Even worse, the system can be set so that if the car recognises a speed limit sign it will not accelerate to a speed faster than that limit, which would be sensible if the car's camera and computer always correctly recognised the signs which is a long way from being the case.

The whole system has been turned off (after a lengthy trawl through a maze of menus).

Jim

Edited By Jim Nic on 26/04/2019 10:41:38

Mick B126/04/2019 10:40:52
1124 forum posts
62 photos

I think some car technology is becoming baroque, because there are too many designers trying to build careers out of tech-savvy cleverness.

In my VW Touran, the button that releases the fuel filler cap is hidden in the back of the driver's door pocket. It took an embarrassing length of time to find it in the 3-volume handbook, where the unusual translation 'tank flap' is the only relevant index entry.

Edited By Mick B1 on 26/04/2019 10:41:34

Neil Wyatt26/04/2019 11:01:28
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16254 forum posts
679 photos
74 articles
Posted by duncan webster on 26/04/2019 10:15:07:
  1. When I worked in North Wales I lodged at a place 2 miles up a forestry track. I had no need of seeing out of the back window for about 10 minutes, plenty of time for the rear screen heater to clear the ice. The (cold) morning ritual was therefore chuck a bucket of warm water over the windscreen, jump in and drive away. If I made the mistake of using reverse, the computer decided to put on the rear wipers, and shred the rubber blades
  2. If I tried to use the heater to keep ice off the windscreen, setting the heater controls to direct the hot air to the screen turns on the air conditioning, thus directing colder air than otherwise
  3. Park in the supermarket, take out the keys (reflex action) and walk away, the car locks itself, trapping handicapped son inside. No you can't open the doors from inside

1 - count yourself lucky, mine did this with enough force to break the wiper arm!

2 - the aircon actually dries the air (which is why bit drops water on you drive and you think you have a leak) making demisting more effective (true!)

3 - that's not good...

Neil

Neil Wyatt26/04/2019 11:02:15
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Moderator
16254 forum posts
679 photos
74 articles
Posted by Mick B1 on 26/04/2019 10:40:52:

I think some car technology is becoming baroque, because there are too many designers trying to build careers out of tech-savvy cleverness.

In my VW Touran, the button that releases the fuel filler cap is hidden in the back of the driver's door pocket. It took an embarrassing length of time to find it in the 3-volume handbook, where the unusual translation 'tank flap' is the only relevant index entry.

Don't worry - in future all functions of your car will be controlled by an app on your phone.

Neil

Gordon Tarling26/04/2019 11:09:01
161 forum posts
4 photos

You've not owned a Mercedes before then? Welcome to the wonderful world of MB!

John Haine26/04/2019 11:09:46
2575 forum posts
133 photos

For God's sake, it's an aid! I find the speed limit reminder very useful, I'm frequently glancing at it. Auto wipers are a godsend, the intermittent ones are always set too fast for very light rain. My wipers are normally set to auto, when it isn't raining they do nothing but when it does they are there for me. As for auto lights, considering the numpties you see who seem to think they are paying for their car lights on their electricity bill and drive in or after dusk without lights, auto ones should be mandatory.

As for the comment about the insurance thing above, the GPS in smartphones is usually pretty awful compared with the dedicated GPS chips used in vehicle fits, so I'm not surprised.

Maybe it's because I'm a techie but I find all these systems useful, and if I don't I'll turn 'em off.

V8Eng26/04/2019 11:17:51
1311 forum posts
27 photos

This is just the start: welcome to the brave new world of motoring, it all begins in 2022.

Read about it here.

New EU regs.

Edited By V8Eng on 26/04/2019 11:20:24

Edited By V8Eng on 26/04/2019 11:20:41

Peter Sansom26/04/2019 13:44:43
57 forum posts
2 photos

You have to rember that these sytem are often driven by marketing, thinking some gimick would be a good selling point. They then pish the software programers to put it in the next model, even if it does not work.

The IT industry has been doing this for years. The clasic was Oracle in the early to mid 90's who released a version full of new features that marketing wanted as selling points. Took 27 maintenance releases to get it working.

As for Car computers, look at the Discovery 3, the dash lights up like a Christmas tree, the vehicle lowers, transmission fault, speed drops to less than 30kmph. Pull over turn off, wait 30 seconds restart. Root c cause is usually one of several things

1. faulty stop light switch, replace.

2. faulty stop/tail light bulb, or not original., but can fit led

3. faulty body earth connection

Had this several times lately, lossening and retightening the earth bolt on the body seems to have fixed the issue.

Brian Sweeting26/04/2019 13:45:02
358 forum posts
1 photos
Posted by Plasma on 26/04/2019 09:42:57:

Still surprising to see folk driving in pitch black without their lights on, or conversely driving what looks like a stage light show when its dusk.

I put that down to the way dashboards are permanently illuminated now. If they couldn't see the dials then they would turn their lights on, hopefully.

Neil Wyatt26/04/2019 13:50:24
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16254 forum posts
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Posted by Brian Sweeting on 26/04/2019 13:45:02:
Posted by Plasma on 26/04/2019 09:42:57:

Still surprising to see folk driving in pitch black without their lights on, or conversely driving what looks like a stage light show when its dusk.

I put that down to the way dashboards are permanently illuminated now. If they couldn't see the dials then they would turn their lights on, hopefully.

These days its the law that cars have their lights wired to be permanently on. It used to only be Scandinavian cars.

Neil

Bazyle26/04/2019 13:53:41
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4650 forum posts
185 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 26/04/2019 11:02:15:

Don't worry - in future all functions of your car will be controlled by an app on your phone.

Neil

Or remotely by someone in an office so you cannot do unsafe things. Our office in Reading has the heating controlled by someone in Huddersfield so we don't waste fuel by fiddling with the thermostat.
Looks like Duncan was suffering from lamentable failure to do a User Trial of the product. It really annoys me when products are released with obvious defects that would be found in the first week of use. Like my satnav that when it goes into a speed limit zone obliterates the map with a warning and repeats it every few seconds if cancelled.

One of the problems with instruction manuals now is that even in the UK, for UK products they are written by cheaper people for whom English is a second or third language.

not done it yet26/04/2019 15:09:33
3148 forum posts
11 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 26/04/2019 13:50:24:

....

These days its the law that cars have their lights wired to be permanently on. It used to only be Scandinavian cars.

Neil

Only for newer vehicles. The law is not retrospective on this.

duncan webster26/04/2019 15:18:33
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2161 forum posts
27 photos
Posted by Neil Wyatt on 26/04/2019 11:01:28:
Posted by duncan webster on 26/04/2019 10:15:07:
  1. When I worked in North Wales I lodged at a place 2 miles up a forestry track. I had no need of seeing out of the back window for about 10 minutes, plenty of time for the rear screen heater to clear the ice. The (cold) morning ritual was therefore chuck a bucket of warm water over the windscreen, jump in and drive away. If I made the mistake of using reverse, the computer decided to put on the rear wipers, and shred the rubber blades
  2. If I tried to use the heater to keep ice off the windscreen, setting the heater controls to direct the hot air to the screen turns on the air conditioning, thus directing colder air than otherwise
  3. Park in the supermarket, take out the keys (reflex action) and walk away, the car locks itself, trapping handicapped son inside. No you can't open the doors from inside

1 - count yourself lucky, mine did this with enough force to break the wiper arm!

2 - the aircon actually dries the air (which is why bit drops water on you drive and you think you have a leak) making demisting more effective (true!)

3 - that's not good...

Neil

I don't care how dry the air is, cold air doesn't melt ice on the outside. If I want the aircon on, it's not exactly onerous to press a button.

Edited By duncan webster on 26/04/2019 15:19:14

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