Mercedes-Benz revealed its experimental safety vehicle, the ESF 2019, at the Safe Roads India Summit 2019 in Delhi. The exhibition was a part of the “Safe Roads”— a unique corporate social responsibility initiative by Daimler to increase safety awareness in India. The German carmaker’s new ESF is based on the latest Mercedes-Benz GLE with a plug-in hybrid powertrain and is equipped with autonomous driving abilities and advanced safety features, which ensure the safety of drivers passengers, and those outside the vehicle.
“One highlight [of the ESF 2019] is the cooperative management and communication with the situation: the ESF takes care of all road users surrounding it,” said Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Safety Concepts, and Child Safety at Mercedes-Benz AG.
The plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) also offers features, such as:
- A multi-functional retractable steering wheel
- Self-governing driving and brakes
- Advanced restraint systems for greater safety
“Child safety is another significant field for the safety engineers,” said Feese. “With the ESF 2019, we are elevating our idea for a related child seat with PRE-SAFE functions. In dangerous driving situations, PRE-SAFE Child can reduce the belt slack by toughening the child seat belt. Furthermore, the side bolsters extend on the door side to implement better lateral support of the seat. These devices can help to reduce the risk of harm for the child significantly.”
With the latest Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019, Mercedes-Benz provided insight on what the company’s safety experts are testing and researching.
“Safety remains to be our core brand value,” says Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of the Vehicle Safety, Durability and Corrosion Protection Centre at Mercedes-Benz Cars. “The big advantage of automated driving purposes is that in the future, fewer accidents will be caused by driver mistakes. However, automated and driverless transportations also come up against physical limits, and there will unquestionably be mixed traffic consisting of mechanical and non-automated vehicles for many years.”
Here’s an overview of the key topics covered by the ESF 2019:
All-round driver safety: When the ESF 2019 is in automated mode, the steering wheel and pedal group are retracted to decrease the risk of injury during a crash. The greater interior flexibility requires new approaches for restraint systems (seat-integrated belt) and airbags with different installation spaces (for example the driver’s airbag is in the integral side-bag, dashboard, in the side bolsters of the seat backrests).
The ESF 2019 also has advanced safety features for manual driving, including the integration of daylight-like light from sun-visor. This vitalizing interior light is intended to keep the driver alert no matter how long the drive.
Child safety: With the PRE-SAFE Child seat, the seat belt is secured in a preventive manner, meaning a side-mounted, shock-protection feature kicks in before a potential accident. There’s also less “slack” or give in the seatbelt so a child is more safely and securely held in their seat. These safety features are also designed to decrease any loads or force acting on the child in case of a crash. The monitoring of proper seatbelt fitting and even of a child’s vital signs are additional functions.
Securing accidents: To better notify other drivers of a traffic accident should one occur, the ESF 2019 is equipped with a small robot, which automatically rises from the vehicle’s trunk following an incident. The robot then serves as a warning triangle on the roadside to alert other drivers of the accident. One other idea Mercedes-Benz proposed is a similar warning triangle that folds out of the vehicle’s roof or rear window as a warning device.
Cooperative communication: The ESF 2019 takes human road users very much into consideration. It has sensors that follow traffic and that can, essentially, communicate in all directions. This means the sensor can warn other road users as required for safety. The vehicle is also equipped with the revolutionary headlamp technology DIGITAL LIGHT, with near reflective-free high beams in HD quality and a resolution of more than two million pixels.
PRE-SAFE operations: PRE-SAFE Curve (which uses the belt tensioner to warn the driver that he/she has probably underestimated an oncoming bend) and PRE-SAFE sidelights with electro-luminescent paint can defuse possibly hazardous situations. PRE-SAFE Impulse Rear can extend the protection of passengers and others included in an accident at the end of a traffic tailback.
Active safety: Active Brake Assist with extensive functions in the ESF 2019 provides additional safety, particularly in dangerous traffic conditions with unprotected road users. For example, when the vehicle is turning, it can identify pedestrians and cyclists who are crossing the street. If there’s a safety concern, the driver receives a visual and audible warning.
However, if a driver fails to react, the vehicle’s autonomous braking will become The 360° pedestrian protection system also alerts and assists while parking to ensure zero collisions.
Additional safety and comfort: An innovative rear airbag uses an exclusive new inflation technique if deploying the airbag. It has a unique tubular construction for this purpose. With belt-feeders, belt buckle embellishment, USB belt buckles, and belt heating, the ESF 2019 ensures a safe and comfortable fit for all drivers and passengers.