The European Commission (EC) is calling for all new cars to be fitted with a comprehensive list of mandatory high-tech safety features by 2021. With the safety features fitted in cars the EC estimates that they will save 7,300 lives and 38,000 serious injuries on the roads between 2020 and 2030.
Here we take a look at what they are and exactly how they keep road users safe.
The 11 systems to be mandatory by 2021:
- AEB – Advanced emergency braking (PRESAFE®)
- Alcohol interlock installation facilitation
- Drowsiness & attention detection (ATTENTION ASSIST®)
- Distraction recognition & prevention (DISTRONIC® PLUS®. with PRESAFE®)
- Event (accident) data recorder
- Emergency stop signal (ESS)
- Full width frontal occupant protection crash test, plus improved seat belts
- Head impact zone enlargement for pedestrians & cyclists, plus safety glass
- Intelligent speed assistance
- Lane-keeping assist (Active blind spot assist & active lane keeping assist)
- Pole side-impact occupant protection
- Reversing camera or detection system
As the industry innovators for automotive safety, Mercedes-Benz provides many of these as optional extras already. However, the new E-Class has most of them as standard.
AEB – Advanced emergency braking (PRESAFE®)
Mercedes-Benz currently offers PRESAFE® technology. The PRESAFE® system is able to sense that a crash may be imminent, detecting actions like intense skidding. It then jumps into gear, tightening the front seat belts, adjusting the head restraints, and closing the window and sunroof. All of this takes place to better prepare you and your loved ones in order to reduce the effects of a collision.
Alcohol interlock installation facilitation
Alcohol interlock installation facilitation is a more radical feature. It will stop the driver from using the car if alcohol is detected in their system.
The device works by the driver having to blow into the interlock equipment for a few seconds before starting the vehicle and the device will generate a reading indicating the driver’s BAC level (breath alcohol level). If the reading exceeds the legal limit then the driver will not be allowed to start the vehicle.
Drowsiness & attention detection (ATTENTION ASSIST®)
Mercedes-Benz currently offers ATTENTION ASSIST®. You may be behind the wheel of a thrilling Mercedes-Benz model, but we’re human, and that means we get tired from time to time – especially on long road trips. ATTENTION ASSIST® is there for you at those times. The system captures dozens of parameters to understand your unique driving style, and after you’ve been on the road for some time, it notes steering corrections or other factors that indicate drowsiness. If all factors point toward driver fatigue, then an alert will sound to urge you to stop for a rest.
Distraction recognition & prevention (DISTRONIC® PLUS® with PRESAFE®)
Mercedes-Benz currently offer DISTRONIC® PLUS®. Even the most vigilant drivers can get distracted while on the road from time to time, and that’s where DISTRONIC® PLUS® comes into play. A series of advanced sensors monitor traffic to detect when cars stop or slow down. When the system deduces that a collision is likely, its linked PRESAFE® Brake feature begins to slow your car for you, and the system simultaneously alerts the driver and deploys the PRESAFE®system. Should you fail to respond altogether, the system is capable of applying 100% braking pressure on its own.
Event (accident) data recorder
Event Data Recorders log data related to the airbag system performance such as the delta-v, time to fire, driver seat position, seat belt use and passenger classification status. Data is recorded when an impact exceeds the recording threshold. Data may be recorded when the impact is from the front, rear, side or rollover and in a non-deployment event.
The data obtained can be used in conjunction with other evidence such as pictures, skid marks and driver’s own version of events during the incident to help a judge/ jury understand what happened in the moments before the crash.
Emergency stop signal
Automatically flashes the hazard warning lights in the event of an emergency stop. This is as standard on many Mercedes-Benz models.
Full width frontal occupant protection crash test, plus improved seatbelts
Improved seat belts and other measures must be taken to improve the safety of occupants who would be thrown forward in an impact.
Head impact zone enlargement for pedestrians & cyclists, plus safety glass
A larger head impact zone with safety glass for greater cyclist and pedestrian protection in a crash.
Mercedes-Benz currently offers Active Bonnet. Active bonnet is when the car senses it is going to hit a pedestrian, it raises the bonnet to increase the distance between the body and hard parts below. This increase the distance over which the car can crumple before it hits something hard.
Intelligent speed assistance
The European Commission is calling for vehicles that use a sign-recognition video camera and a GPS-linked speed limit database to help drivers keep to the current speed limit.
Such a system will limit engine power when necessary to help prevent the driver from exceeding the current speed limit. The system can be overridden, or temporarily switched off. As well as improving road safety, reducing emissions and saving fuel, the system can help drivers avoid speeding fines.
At the moment Mercedes-Benz offers speed limiters and cruise control, they notify the driver on the dashboard of the current speed limit and indicate with an icon on the dashboard when you are too close to the car in front, based on the stopping distance required for your speed.
Lane-keeping assist (Active blind spot assist & active lane keeping assist)
Mercedes-Benz currently offers active lane keeping assist. Your pesky blind spot won’t leave you quite as blind, thanks to Active Blind Spot Assist. A radar can tell when a vehicle is next to yours, and when you engage the turn signal for a lane change, it audibly alerts you it’s there. Meanwhile, Active Lane Keeping Assist boasts a special camera that monitors the road ahead of you. In the event that you begin to drift from your lane, the system vibrates the steering wheel to ensure that you’re aware.
Pole side-impact occupant protection
Greater occupant protection in the side impact test.
Reversing camera or detection system
For greater safety when reversing with sensors to alert the driver to anything crossing its path. Mercedes-Benz currently offer this as an optional extra.
Mercedes-Benz also has some of their own safety features the can be added on as an additional extra. These include:
Brake Assist System BAS
Brake Assist (BAS) shortens the stopping distance in an emergency – when the driver applies the brakes too hesitantly or too gently in a critical situation. In such a case, the system automatically generates the maximum available brake boosting effect in split seconds, thereby shortening the car’s stopping distance significantly.
Adaptive Highbeam assist
Adaptive High Beam Assist uses a specialized camera that will scan the road ahead for the lights being given off by other vehicles. Based on the calculations that it receives, it will maximize its own illumination while ensuring that it doesn’t create an unwanted glare to oncoming vehicles. This is an essential safety feature that not only protects you but also other drivers on the road.
Night view assist plus
Using a special camera and invisible infrared beams, drivers will be able to view a real-time view of a dark road. This becomes especially useful for avoiding pedestrians or animals on very dark nights. With that being said, most Mercedes-Benz vehicles come with active full-LED headlamps. These are designed to generate the most amount of power when driving at night. These 72 light-emitting diodes will also reconfigure themselves to form patterns based on other traffic, the vehicle’s speed, and even the driver’s steering habits. Staying safe on dark nights becomes much more convenient with Mercedes-Benz safety features like this.
Mercedes-Benz invest millions of euros into research and development of safety systems designed to keep motorists and other road users safe. The features listed above that we currently do not offer as standard will be under increased scrutiny by our teams and we look forward to updating readers of our progress over the coming months.
Image Credits: European Commission & Daimler Media