German automaker Mercedes-Benz has introduced many crucial innovations that have saved countless lives over the years thanks to its continuous and comprehensive research in this field, said a top official.
"Our declared aim at Mercedes-Benz is to retain and extend our role as trendsetters in the field of vehicle safety and, by doing so, to continue to improve road safety", said Professor Rodolfo Schöneburg, head of Vehicle Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
"We are currently, for example, concentrating on reducing the strain on the upper torso in a side-on collision. We are also developing a substantial number of other concepts, features and products that we believe will pioneer new elements of safety for the automotive industry."
The very first vehicle with exemplary road safety was developed back in the 1900’s by Wilhelm Maybach, and was known as the Mercedes 35 HP. Factors which contributed to making this model such an ingenious introduction in the automotive world include the long wheelbase, low centre of gravity, the engine bolted to the frame and the wide track.
Between 1921 and 1931, Mercedes-Benz passenger car models were equipped with front wheel brakes, hydraulic braking systems and independent front and rear suspension with swing axles. By 1958, Mercedes-Benz had created several patents on safety features, such as conical-pin safety door lock, wedge-pin door lock and safety body with rigid passenger cell and crumple zones.
One year later, Mercedes-Benz strengthened its commitment to safety measures with the start of systematic crash testing and the use of dummies. Since then, a number of safety features have been introduced in all Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
These include: disc brakes and dual-circuit braking systems, safety steering systems with telescopic steering columns and impact absorbers, ABS anti-lock braking systems, the world’s first driver airbag, rain sensors and xenon lights, the world’s first BAS Brake Assist System, the ABC (Active Body Control) suspension, head/thorax side airbags, Electronic Stability Program ESP, DISTRONIC PLUS, Brake Assist BAS PLUS, Night View Assist, Blind Spot Assist and many more.
Avoid accidents and mitigate their consequences - this is the integrated approach adopted by Mercedes-Benz Accident Research under the heading "Real Life Safety". In 2013, Mercedes-Benz systematically pursued this strategy with numerous new assistance systems and greatly enhanced functions. Comfort and safety are enhanced at the same time. Mercedes-Benz calls this "Intelligent Drive". The new functions all rely on the same sensor system, comprising a new stereo camera together with multistage radar sensors.
“Very good assistance systems normally work in the background, or support drivers unobtrusively without taking control. What is important is that the assistants provide support when they are needed”, said Dr Michael Hafner, head of Driver Assistance Systems at Mercedes-Benz Cars.
The company’s claim to technological leadership is underscored by over 80,000 patent applications so far, of which over 14,000 were filed at the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) in the last decade. With around 2000 patent applications per year, the company is the leader among premium vehicle manufacturers in Europe.