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Mercedes reveals new safety concept vehicle

By Graeme Roberts | 20 May 2019

Mercedes says its new concept/experimental vehicle shows off "safety ideas for a new mobility"

Mercedes says its new concept/experimental vehicle shows off "safety ideas for a new mobility"

Daimler's Mercedes-Benz Cars has unveiled a new concept/experimental vehicle to show off "safety ideas for a new mobility".

The ESF 2019, based on the recently launched GLE crossover, is a plug-in hybrid capable of "automated driving in many situations".

It will be shown at the ESV convention in Eindhoven, Netherlands, in June and make its public appearance at the Frankfurt show in September.

"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," Daimler said.

The automaker said electric drive systems and automated driving are key technologies for future mobility which has led to changes in the requirements for in-car safety technology. Much more flexible seating positions require a different form of occupant protection while 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.

ESF 2019 gives an idea of what the company is researching and, among a dozen innovations, some are near-series production developments while some look well into the future.

"Some of the functions are very close to series production," hinted Mercedes' R&D chief Ola Kaellenius.

According to Rodolfo Schoeneburg, vehicle safety, durability and corrosion protection centre chief 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."

ESF 2019 features include:

Learning from real accidents

Mercedes-Benz said (as does Volvo Cars) it takes its lead from real accidents for the protection of all road users. On the basis of what actually happens in accidents, it develops strict in-house safety regulations that in many cases go well beyond the legal provisions or rating requirements. For 50 years, in-house engineers have examined serious accidents involving the automaker's current vehicles. The aim is to learn  and incorporate findings into the design of new models.

Ideas and safety concepts such as those shown in the ESF 2019 are tested and validated at Daimler's Technology Centre for Vehicle Safety (TFS). Opened in November 2016, the TFS is part of the development centre in Sindelfingen.

Numerous innovations from the ESF 2009 presented at the ESV convention a decade ago have since entered production. These include the S-Class beltbag, Pre-Safe Impulse Side for the E-Class, CLS and GLE, plus Active High Beam Assist Plus which is available across the Mercedes-Benz range.