Volkswagen's Emergency Assist driver assistance system has won the German Mobility Award 2017.

The award was presented to the automaker by the Germany – Land of Ideas initiative and the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure for safe, intelligent mobility.

Stefan Gies, head of chassis development for the VW brand, said: "Emergency Assist makes an important contribution to reducing accidents. Thanks to the continuous enhancement of our driver assistance systems, we succeed in pointing the way to the mobility of the future. This award is recognition for the expertise and dedication of our development team."

Most of VW's driver assistance systems are designed to lessen the burden on the driver during everyday motoring and to make driving as comfortable as possible. However, there are also systems that spring into action only if the driver gets into an out-of-the-ordinary situation. They are able both to safeguard the occupants and protect other road users. The second generation Emergency Assist is one such system. It merges Lane Assist (lane-keeping system), ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), Side Assist (lane change system) and Park Assist into one system and, within the bounds of its capabilities, brings the car to a standstill.

In detail this means that Emergency Assist monitors driver activity (accelerator pedal, brakes and steering) and helps to avoid accidents, or at least reduce their consequences, within system limits. If the driver is now showing any activity, the driver is asked to resume control of vehicle guidance via audible and visual signals and by an uncomfortable brake jolt. During this process, the system slows the vehicle continuously until it reaches a standstill, and it activates the hazard warning lights to warn other road users. The Adaptive Cruise Control system (ACC) maintains the proper distance to the vehicle ahead, and the Lane Assist lane-keeping assistant keeps the vehicle in the driving lane. When it reaches a standstill, the vehicle is secured by automatic activation of the electronic parking brake.

The latest generation of Emergency Assist offers another plus in safety. If the driver does not react to the warning signals, the assistant not only brakes the vehicle within its system limits. If traffic behind the vehicle and ambient conditions permit, it also steers the vehicle to the nearside lane. In addition to the audible and visual warnings and brake jolt, an optional belt tensioner generates a belt pull and thereby serves as another means of warning the driver while safely securing the driver in the seat.

A 16-strong jury, chaired by Dorothee Bär, member of the German Parliament and parliamentary state secretary to the federal minister of transport and digital infrastructure, selected this year's 10 competition winners. Around 170 start-ups, businesses, associations and research institutions from all over Germany entered their projects for the national awards.