Mercedes-Benz does not only make the best cars in the world; the German carmaker also makes them the most secure ones for its customers to travel in. Over the last several decades, Mercedes-Benz has pioneered a range of both active and passive safety innovations that are used universally today and have set benchmarks when it comes to safety in automobiles. These range from the crumple zone and the safety steering to the anti-lock brake system and the Attention Assist. Here, we take a look at some of them.
Mercedes-Benz engineer Bela Barenyi had several patents to his name. Among his pioneering inventions was the crumple zone, which absorbed energy from an impact and kept it away from the car’s occupants. Barenyi started his research into crumple zones in the early 1950s. By 1959, Mercedes-Benz sedans featured front and rear crumple zones.
The world’s first production ABS
In 1978, Mercedes-Benz became the first car manufacturer in the world to introduce the anti-lock braking system in its cars. It was offered as an option initially in the S-class. Since 1984, ABS has been standard equipment on Mercedes-Benz passenger cars.
The world's first driver airbag
Mercedes-Benz, which had been assiduously researching supplementary restraint systems since the late 1960s, introduced the world’s first driver airbag in the S-class in 1981. The driver airbag was made available in all model series in 1982. The passenger airbag followed in 1987 and the side airbag in 1995.
The electronic stability programme, or ESP, minimises the risk of a car skidding on cornering and maintains its directional stability even in highly unsafe conditions. Mercedes-Benz first launched it in the S 600 Coupe in 1995. It also made its presence felt in the S-class sedan and the SL Roadster, and eventually, in 1998, in the A-class.
How do you prepare for an accident even before it happens? Enter Pre-Safe. Launched in 2002, the path-breaking system can actually sense an imminent collision and, thanks to a network of sensors, tighten the front seat belts, adjust the front head restraints and passenger seat, and can even close the windows and the sunroof.
Introduced in 2010, the Attention Assist system uses sensors to constantly scan over 70 data points to detect signs of driver drowsiness and alert him or her to take a break.
The Mercedes-Benz Distronic Plus is a cruise control system that automatically adapts the car’s set speed according to the vehicle ahead of it.