The Future of Safety

Mercedes-Benz ESF 2019: The Future of Safety

Mercedes-Benz has released their latest safety concept, the ESF 2019. As we close the door on this decade, we face an interesting future in the world of mobility. Environmental pressures are rising and with the government pledge to reduce emissions to net-zero by 2050, the time for change seems to be now.

The development of the Mercedes-Benz EQ range is a huge step on this road.  Recently, the brand has announced the launch of the EQV, the concept EQS sedan and plug-in hybrid treatment for the A-Class, GLC and GLE. All roads seem to point to not only to electric, but also toward the future of autonomous drive.

The ESF 2019

The Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESF 2019) was released by Mercedes-Benz in June 2019 and gives a glimpse into our future for vehicle safety. Announced as a concept vehicle to outline the potential future of autonomous driving, the ESF is a truly futuristic proposition.

Mercedes-Benz has been creating Experimental Safety Vehicles since the 1970s. Not only do they contribute to the discussion of what may be possible in the future, but also serve to map out the Mercedes-Benz vision for the future, as always with safety as part of the DNA.

“Safety is part of the brand DNA of Mercedes-Benz. We have repeatedly demonstrated that we are not short of ideas in this field since the 1970s, with our Experimental Safety Vehicles. 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,” says Ola Källenius, Member of the Daimler AG Executive Board responsible for Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.

The ESF 2019 is based on the Mercedes-Benz GLE. It has automated drive capabilities in many situations, and has a plug-in hybrid drive system. There are a variety of innovations featured in the vehicle.


Co-operative communication with the environment panels at the front and rear of the vehicle. These digital panels communicate vehicle intentions and environment changes to other road users. For example, when stopping for a pedestrian the panels will indicate the reason for the stop via the panels, reducing the risk of road traffic accidents.

Roof Warning Triangle and Warning Triangle Robot. In the event of a breakdown or emergency the roof warning triangle will appear on the roof of the vehicle to alert other road users to potential danger. The warning triangle robot will exit the vehicle from the rear and stop the recommended distance from your car as an additional warning, whilst protecting the safety of driver and passengers.

The ESF 2019 also features enhancements to the Mercedes-Benz Active Assist safety functions. Read our guide to the driver assistance packages. 360° pedestrian protection while using autonomous parking uses sensors around the vehicle to avoid collisions with pedestrians and cyclists.

Features include a steering wheel and pedal concept for autonomous drive, a warning triangle robot and 360° pedestrian protection for autonomous parking.


PRE-SAFE functionality is already a feature in the latest Mercedes-Benz and uses vehicle sensors to anticipate potential impact. The PRE-SAFE feature then tightens vehicle seatbelts, adjusts front head restraints and even closes the window and sunroof to mitigate the damage done by vehicle collisions.  In the Mercedes-Benz ESF the PRE-SAFE feature is extended to include a connected child safety seat for extra protection for children. It also features an external side light to alert other road users to your presence, as well as PRE-SAFE Curve which uses the belt tensioner to alert the driver that they have underestimated an approaching bend.

ESF 2019 steering

As well as the PRE-SAFE function there is also a holistic driver safety concept. This includes retracting steering wheel and pedals when driving in automated mode to reduce the risk of injury in case of a crash. It also features a front and integral side bag to again reduce the impact of a collision.

A vitalizing interior light helps to keep the driver alert at all times and creates a refreshing cabin environment for a healthier drive.

The ESF 2019 gives an interesting insight to the research being done by the safety experts at Mercedes-Benz. Some features are close to production, while others look far into the future. What’s clear is that the future of mobility is changing rapidly.

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