Mercedes-Benz Gives A Glimpse Of The Future
June 20, 2007
Mercedes-Benz, one of the leading names in car safety, is laying the groundwork for a new, forward-looking concept. Subsequent to its notable success in the field of occupant protection, the German automaker will concentrate more in the future on anticipatory recognition and the prevention of accidents.
To this end, the Stuttgart-based brand is developing intelligent driver assistance systems that use stereo cameras and radar sensors to monitor the area surrounding the vehicle. These systems also have the capability to make predictive interpretations of significant driving situations and then issue timely warnings to drivers. The systems are also designed to intervene autonomously if there is imminent danger.
“Several years ago, we introduced PRE-SAFE, which gave the vehicle certain ‘reflexes,’ so to speak,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, a DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member responsible for the Group Research and Mercedes Car Group Development.
“In the future, we will also give cars the ability to ‘see’ and ‘think.’ It’s always been a matter of policy for us to develop vehicles capable of withstanding the most severe crash tests. However, it makes much more sense to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place - which is exactly what we’re working on in the interest of all traffic participants,” he continued.
There is no denying that the Mercedes Benz emblem signifies safety and quality. The automaker has contributed milestone auto features in the past that are still part of the present safety equipment in vehicles. In the future, the automaker will continue to base the development of its safety systems on real-life accident statistics and data from its own accident research activities.
The automaker said that the concentration will be on sharp curves, intersections, and construction sites, as these locations are the site of approximately one-third of all serious accidents in Germany. The company added that other issues to be addressed in the development of new driver assistance systems would include speed, driver fatigue, and lane departure. They are also among the most frequent causes of accidents. Additionally, the German automaker will also further improve occupant protection through preventive measures and by networking active and passive safety systems.
Mercedes-Benz’ systems have been helping to improve road safety for many years now. The invention of ESP alone (which lessens the risk of skidding and makes it easier for drivers to handle grave situations) has led to a sustained improvement in traffic safety. The most recent German accident statistics confirm that since ESP was launched as standard equipment, Mercedes passenger cars have been involved in accidents much less frequently than models of other brands. Since 1999, the share of driver-related collisions in all accidents involving newly registered Mercedes models has declined by more than 42 percent.
Studies show that more than 20,000 accidents could be prevented each year in if all passenger cars were equipped with ESP. The Electronic Stability Program has now therefore joined airbags, seatbelts and ABS as one of the most important safety systems in modern passenger cars. Still, only about 40 percent of all new cars in are presently equipped with this technology.
The Brake Assist (BAS) system, video-based assistance systems, lane departure prevention assistant, Blind Spot Assist, fatigue detection, radar sensor systems, and car-to-car communication systems with WLAN radio technology are some of the company’s future offerings.
By working on these systems and other innovations, the Stuttgart-based brand is continuing its long-standing commitment to improving road safety. This approach is based on the prime principle of Mercedes formulated by Béla Barényi: “To make an important contribution to improving safety on our roads and, with each new invention, to move a little closer to the vision of accident-free driving.”
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