Mercedes-Benz S-Class ESF 2009 safety concept
In August 1939 the safety pioneer Béla Barényi started his work in Sindelfingen. He invented for example the principle of the crumple zone, a trailblazing innovation which entered series production at Mercedes-Benz in 1959. With the help of its in-house accident research function, which was founded in 1969, Mercedes-Benz engineers in the following years have developed several innovations in passenger car safety. Mercedes-Benz is using the new S-Class ESF 2009 concept to celebrate this culture of development, with a look towards safety technology to come.
The ESF 2009 is the first “Experimental Safety Vehicle” to be built by Mercedes-Benz since 1974. It illustrates new innovations in the field of safety and makes the progress achieved clearly visible. The ESF 2009, based on the Mercedes S 400 Hybrid, will be premiered on 15 June 2009, at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) Conference in Stuttgart.
The following five innovations are among the highlights of the ESF 2009:
* PRE-SAFE Structure:The inflatable metal structures save weight or increase the stability of structural components. When at rest, the metal section is in a folded state to save space. If its protective effect is required, a gas generator builds up an internal pressure of 10 to 20 bar within fractions of a second, causing the section to unfold for significantly more stability.
* Braking Bag:This auxiliary brake accommodated in the vehicle floor is a new type of PRE-SAFE component. If the sensor system concludes that an impact is unavoidable, the Braking Bag is deployed shortly before the crash and stabilises the car on the road surface by means of a friction coating. The vehicle’s vertical acceleration increases the friction, and helps to decelerate the vehicle before the impact occurs.
* Interactive Vehicle Communication: The ESF 2009 is able to communicate directly with other vehicles, or via relay stations. Using “ad hoc” networks and wireless LAN technology, it is able to receive and transmit warnings of bad weather or obstacles in the road.
* PRE-SAFE Pulse: This further development of PRE-SAFE is able to reduce the forces acting on the torsos of the occupants during a lateral collision by around one third. It does this by moving them towards the centre of the vehicle by up to 50 mm as a precautionary measure. As an active restraint system, it uses the air chambers in the side bolsters of the seat backrests.
* Spotlight lighting function: This partial LED main beam specifically illuminates potential hazards. If the infrared camera of Night View Assist PLUS detects animals or pedestrians on the road, these can be briefly illuminated beyond the normal area covered by the main beams, as if by a spotlight.
Mercedes-Benz is restarting a tradition with the ESF 2009. For the ESV Safety Conferences held in 1971 to 1975, Mercedes-Benz built more than 30 experimental vehicles and subjected them to crash tests to satisfy the visionary safety requirements of that time. Four of these experimental safety vehicles were presented to the public, and many of the revolutionary ideas such as ABS and airbags first entered series production in Mercedes-Benz cars.