Monday, June 15, 2009

Mercedes-Benz ESF 2009 Safety Prototype: Full Details Revealed


AFTER OFFERING A sneak peak earlier in the week, Mercedes-Benz has now revealed the full details of its ESF 2009 S400 Hybrid Experimental Safety Vehicle, due for unveiling late June.

Powered by the German prestige car manufacturer’s S400 Hybrid powertrain, the ESF 2009 is a safety tour de force, featuring thirteen of the manufacturer’s current and experimental safety technologies, including the company’s Pre-Safe crash-detection system and centre seat airbags, as well as airbag brakes and inflatable metal bracing structures.


The ESF 2009 Safety prototype’s under-car airbag braking system - which Mercedes-Benz has dubbed the Braking Bag - is every bit as odd as it sounds, with a high-pressure air system that inflates and presses the airbag brakes directly against the road, increasing surface friction area and enhancing the car’s braking ability in an emergency.

The Braking Bag is designed to deploy only once the car’s Pre-Safe system has determined that a collision is unavoidable.

The inflatable metal crash structures use a similar high-pressure air system, loading air into the area of the body about to impact, stiffening the area and minimising damage. This allows Mercedes to use lighter materials for efficiency and performance, without hindering the car’s ability to absorb an impact.


“Even in economically difficult times, we refuse to make any cuts where innovation is concerned, as shown by the highly complex ESF2009 project, where we have chosen this particular time to clearly demonstrate the innovative strength of Daimler and Mercedes-Benz.

Anybody examining the ESF2009 in detail will recognize that more safety and less fuel consumption are not necessarily a contradiction in terms. We want to make progress in both fields with new, trailblazing ideas,” said Daimler Chairman and Mercedes-Benz CEO Dr. Dieter Zetsche.

Mercedes-Benz’ Pre-Safe Pulse technology works by gently pushing occupants toward the centre of the car, away from the crush zone in a side-impact collision.

The front airbags of the ESF 2009 also have the ability to detect the size, weight and seating position of the car’s occupants, allowing the bags to discharge at a volume optimised for those parameters.


Other technologies featured in the ESF 2009 include an advanced version of the company’s car-to-car communications system that keeps track of other vehicles around it, as well as adaptive always-on high beam headlights, which focuses light on specific areas or objects on the road the car’s computer identifies as hazardous.

The last time Mercedes-Benz offered an ESF (the German acronym for Experimental Safety Vehicle) was in 1974, and this new safety extravaganza will be unveiled later this month as part of the company’s Fascination of Technology exhibit at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.