Electric drive systems and automated driving are key technologies for the mobility of the future. This leads to changes in the requirements for in-car safety technology: firstly, much more flexible seating positions in the interior of such vehicles require a different form of occupant protection. And secondly, empathy and trust are central factors for the acceptance of self-driving vehicles. Other road users must be able to recognise intuitively what an automated vehicle intends to do, as in many situations there will be no driver to communicate this. With the new Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019, Mercedes-Benz is giving an insight into the ideas that the company’s safety experts are researching and working on. Among the one dozen or so innovations, some are near-series developments and some look well into the future.
The ESF 2019 is based on the new Mercedes-Benz GLE, is capable of automated driving in many situations and has a plug-in hybrid drive system. In June 2019 the ESF 2019 will make its grand appearance before experts at the ESV convention in Eindhoven (Netherlands). It will then make its public appearance at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt in September 2019. In some respects the ESF 2019 is a preview of what is to come, in others a vision and in yet others a contribution to the general discussion, but it is also a tool for improved traffic safety in the great tradition of Mercedes-Benz.
“Safety is part of the brand DNA of Mercedes-Benz. We have repeatedly demonstrated that we are not short of ideas in this field since the 1970s, with our Experimental Safety Vehicles. The new ESF 2019 reflects the mobility of the future, and presents a wide variety of innovations which we are currently researching and developing. And I can already say this much: some of the functions are very close to series production,” says Ola Källenius, Member of the Daimler AG Executive Board responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
“Safety continues 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 great advantage of automating driving functions is that in the future, fewer accidents will be caused by driver error. However, automated and driverless vehicles also come up against physical limits, and there will undoubtedly be mixed traffic consisting of automated and non-automated vehicles for many years.”
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