While a Mercedes-Benz is known for being luxurious, fast and expensive, the German automaker wants to draw attention to the many safety features it currently offers as well as the ones it is developing. With the launch of the new E-Class, Mercedes introduced numerous new safety programs and now it has created an Experimental Safety Vehicle called the ESF 2009, based on the upcoming S400 Hybird.
Of the dozen new safety features on the ESF 2009, five are particularly worth noting. These include the: Pre-Safe Structure, the Braking Bag, Interactive Vehicle Communication, Pre-Safe Pulse and the Spotlight lighting function.
The Pre-Safe structure is a metal structure that fits inside the doors (or other places) and is unfolded by a blast of pressurized air in the case of an accident. This would not only protect passengers, but it would allow for more compact packaging of the vehicle.
The Braking Bag is easily the most interesting feature on the ESF 2009. This air bag-type balloon is deployed under the car in an emergency braking situation. It is coated in a high-friction surface, which helps to slow the car, while at the same time helping to keep it level. In fact, the bag actually raises the front of the car, compensating for the "dive" typically experienced during such extreme braking, and ensuring that if the car does it another vehicle, the impact will be at the bumper.
Additionally, the Interactive Vehicle Communication system will let the ESF 2009 communicate with other cars on the road, relaying information about poor weather conditions or objects on the road. The Pre-Safe Pulse system works by moving the torso of an individual forward by 50 mm (by moving the seatback) in an accident to reduce the impact-force by one-third. Finally, the ESF 2009's Spotlight lighting function works with the Mercedes Night View Assist Plus to essentially put a spotlight on an object (such as a deer or pedestrian) that has run onto the road. Using specific LED lights it would bring to a driver's attention something that would normally be outside the range of the headlights.
"Safety is a central element of the Mercedes-Benz brand. In this respect we have been setting the pace in the market for almost 70 years. For the benefit of our customers and for road users in general. The ESF 2009 shows that we still have plenty of ideas and the absolute will, to lead the automobile industry in this field even in future," says Mercedes CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsch.
The ESF 2009 made its world-premiere today at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) Conference in Stuttgart, Germany.
More: Mercedes Launches ESF 2009 Exprimental Safety Vehicle With Under-Car "Braking Bag"