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Electric drive systems and fully-automated driving are key technologies for the mobility of the future and Mercedes-Benz seems to be on that fast track to success.
With the new Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019, the German automaker is giving an insight into the ideas that the company’s safety experts are researching and working on.
The ESF 2019 is based on the new Mercedes-Benz GLE. It is capable of fully-automated driving in many situations and has a plug-in hybrid drive system. In May 2019, the vehicle was presented to the national and international press in Sindelfingen. In June 2019, the ESF 2019 made its grand appearance before specialists at the ESV Conference in Eindhoven (Netherlands). It is now on display to the general public at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. 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.
Ola Källenius, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG & Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: “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.”
Professor Dr Ing. Rodolfo Schöneburg, head of the Vehicle Safety, Durability and Corrosion Protection Centre at Mercedes-Benz Cars, added that safety is the brand’s core value. He said: “The great advantage of automating driving functions is that in the future, fewer accidents will be caused by driver error. However, fully-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.”
Some of the elements included in the ESF 2019 are:
• All-round driver safety: When the ESF 2019 is driving in fully-automated mode, the steering wheel and pedal cluster are retracted to reduce the risk of injury during a crash.
• Cooperative communication with the surroundings: Its sensors not only keep an eye on the traffic, it communicates in all directions and can also warn other road users.
• Child safety: With the child seat concept PRE-SAFE Child, the seat belt is preventively tensioned and side-mounted impact protection elements are extended before a crash.
• Securing traffic hazards: The ESF 2019 shows how the scenes of accidents or breakdowns could be secured more safely with innovations such as a small robot that automatically emerges from the vehicle’s rear following an incident, and positions itself at the roadside as a warning triangle.