The Experimental Safety Vehicle: A Milestone in Research
Today we have the great honour to be here in front
of the Vehicle Safety Technology Centre (TFS) in Sindelfingen.
This is the new ESV 2019 based on the new GLE, the V 167; it not only looks spectacular
with LiDAR-sensors on the roof, but has plenty more to offer inside. ESV stands for Experimental Safety Vehicle and the subject of this vehicle today
is an integrated safety concept for the age
of autonomous driving, in which I can be on the road both autonomously and
manually. For those familiar with the subject,
the ESV originally came into being in the early 1970s
on the instructions of the US government, with the simple aim of
improving road safety. In the late 1970s, the German Ministry of
Transport and, with it, Mercedes-Benz joined in.
Mercedes-Benz was in the fortunate position that, at the time when
the programme was launched, the company had in the late 1960s already developed numerous
safety milestones, which it had introduced into series-produced automobiles.
These included the safety door lock, which was patented
in 1949 and introduced in the 1950s. This was very important,
because, at that time, around 25% of traffic fatalities were due
to the fact that, in an accident, the doors burst open with the occupants
being flung out of the vehicle to their death.
This changed with the safety door lock, which
stopped the doors from bursting open in an accident. Developments then followed
in rapid succession. In the 1950s, safety steering was
for the first time developed in various forms. In 1959, a further innovation
in series production was the introduction of the safety bodyshell with crumple zones.
This was a very important milestone.
There were also other safety features, namely improved
safety door locks with two safety catches, which were much
more effective in stopping the doors from bursting open. In addition, there was the
so-called safe interior, which helped to ensure that
the risk of injury was reduced. All of this was long before the launch
of the ESV programme. Also in the 1960s, as the
ESV programme slowly moved nearer, Mercedes-Benz had already begun
to develop the driver’s airbag. Development kicked off in 1967 and,
as early as 1970, the first version of the anti-lock braking system (ABS)
was unveiled. An important contribution to active safety.
Consequently, at the launch of the ESV programme, Mercedes-Benz was in a
fortunate position and was able, as the first and at that time only
manufacturer within the programme, to unveil a vehicle, and
that was in 1971 at the ESV Conference, which took place
in Sindelfingen. Karl-Heinz Baumann started at Mercedes-Benz in 1977. Yet,
already in 1971, while still a student, he showed great interest in the ESV programme.
He searched feverishly for all the information that was
available in the press and in technical journals,
and that’s why I believe Karl-Heinz Baumann is the best person to
tell you about the two historical ESV vehicles we have here, from the 1970s
from the viewpoint of the safety engineer.
Certainly, I was very interested at that time in the subject
of safety vehicles, without knowing that I would one day
work at a company like Mercedes-Benz, and without knowing that I
would there one day develop concepts and strategies for passive safety,
and would perhaps even have the opportunity to work in a team
to generate a new ESV, which is then in fact what happened
many years later. Today we here have two vehicles
that represent the ESV programme. The programme ran from 1971 until 1974,
i.e. it finished at the end of 1974. Strictly speaking, the programme
can be divided into two phases. In the first phase, there
was a catalogue of requirements drawn up by the US Traffic Safety Administration,
which set tremendously high
standards in terms of the accident severity that vehicles had to withstand. You had to drive at 80 km/h
against a rigid wall with a full face contact ratio. Equally,
you had to withstand a rear-end collision at 80 km/h with a
moving barrier that impacted against the stationary vehicle. Further requirements were
a side impact of the moving vehicle at 25 km/h
against a rigid pole on both sides: driver and front passenger.
There were also requirements with regard to vehicle roll-over. In addition, there was a requirement
concerning the bumpers. You can see these solid bumpers. What the Americans
demanded at that time was to withstand a 15 km/h front-end collision, as well as a
15 km/h rear-end collision with a moving barrier without the vehicle sustaining
any permanent damage. The idea of the Americans was that, to arrive at safe vehicles, all that was needed was to
increase the impact speed to the maximum, in other words, to raise the standards
more and more and to drive at 80 km/h against a rigid wall, which, even today,
is no trifling matter, I can tell you. To have any chance
of withstanding such an impact, of course, you needed suitable
restraint systems and had to design the vehicle interior in an appropriate
way. The first thing you notice is this
so-called automatic seat belt. That’s because the Americans also required
the restraint system to be applied automatically, as
Americans wouldn’t willingly have belted up by themselves.
So this is an automatic belt, which was then combined, already at that time,
with an airbag system. This vehicle was presented, for example,
in Washington in 1971 at the ESV Conference. The driver was
already protected by an airbag: a 60-litre airbag in the steering wheel.
And if you take a look at the dashboard on the front-passenger side,
the special shape, you can see a 200-litre front-passenger airbag, similar to a present-day one. A present-day front-passenger airbag has around 130 litres, meaning that the ones installed in those days were already pretty impressive in size.
And there was also this: The front occupants, too, were provided with airbags, on both the left- and right-hand
sides, each equipped with 200-litre airbags. In other words, this car had
an airbag volume of 660 litres, which was ignited in a front-end collision. From a present-day perspective,
it really would be unthinkable with regard to “out of position” and similar aspects – or with regard to the aspect of
child safety. The consequence of this overall concept, these high
standards of crash worthiness, was that the vehicle became extremely
heavy. The platform for this car was still the platform from the W 114, i.e. the Stroke 8.
The front end was extended by 300 mm to meet the required standards, and the entire
passenger cell was, of course, made much stiffer. Overall, this car weighed 700
kilos more than the original vehicle. The driver’s seat and
front-passenger seat each weighed 68 kg. What this vehicle showed was that, although it was technically possible to
meet such high standards, it didn’t actually make sense.
The vehicles were too heavy, they were too expensive, they were too unwieldy for that time.
And there was another aspect, namely a deterioration
in terms of compatibility.
Many vehicles at the time were very, very small and came with little
in the way of safety. And it’s in the nature of things that vehicles collide with each other,
which, of course, means that there isn’t necessarily an improvement
in safety for everyone, but perhaps only for the occupants
in this vehicle. And so we said that we’d only continue with the
programme if we could lower the requirements. Then
Daimler, off its own bat, lowered the requirements
in terms of accident severity, which brings us to the second phase of this
ESV programme, namely the ESV 22. This vehicle, of course, is much more
harmonious in appearance. It looks much more like a practicable vehicle.
You can see that the platform for this car was no longer the W 114, but the W 116, the first S-Class. Although the vehicle still had a longer front end and its shell was,
of course, still massively stiffened, it was now only designed for
a 65 km/h front-end collision. Also, the requirements for rear-end collisions and side impacts had been significantly lowered.
Overall, the result was a much more harmonious, more practicable
vehicle. If we now take a look inside this
vehicle, we can see that we’re getting much closer to
a present-day vehicle. The driver was protected by the driver’s
airbag and the three-point belt was equipped with belt force limiters at
all belt anchorage points; another innovation for vehicles at that time.
The front passenger and occupants were protected by automatic three-point belts,
all of which were provided at all anchorage points with belt force limiters. Instead of
an airbag, the passengers had a belt tensioner; another
innovation for vehicles at that time. And, of course, in terms of active safety,
the cars were a milestone by the standards of those days.
First, of course, they all came with ABS and, if you take a look at the W 116,
you can see many features connected with the fact that there was
an attempt to improve the driver’s visibility. This is an area where
many measures were taken to keep dirt off
on this vehicle. Incidentally, this also extended to the series-production vehicle, removing dirty water,
making sure that the side windows were kept clear or that the mirror did not get dirty, or that
the brake lights and the rear lights were easier to identify.
We can now see that this really was a major milestone in
the direction of future vehicle safety. Although there was
an ESV24 to follow, it was a little closer to the W 116 and the
production vehicle. Basically, these were the main cars that
ultimately took the issue of safety into the future. Many innovations from
that time. Airbag development, belt tensioner,
belt force limiter, ABS, these are all things that later made their way
into series-produced cars and which became established throughout the automotive world.
In this respect, it was a very important milestone in the history
of vehicle safety. As you can see here, we have not only the sensors at the top, but also the LED strips inside, which also light up turquoise.
For Mercedes-Benz, the colour of autonomous driving.
This means that, in this case, we would be driving in autonomous mode.
Here on top, you can see the four sensors, on top simply because that’s the best place
to see them, because that’s the highest point on the vehicle,
and it can easily be seen from the front, from the side and from the rear. I now no longer need to look towards
the driver, because he’s not doing anything anymore. The car has taken over.
Perhaps the driver is even asleep, you don’t know. That’s right, he could be asleep.
Here we have a Level 4 vehicle, which means that the vehicle is capable of fully
autonomous driving. The ESV 2019 clearly shows when, for example, it’s letting
a pedestrian cross the street. Turquoise light signals provide information about
its intentions. Slow pulsing indicates that the ESV 2019 has
seen the pedestrian and is stopping. The front LEDs in the roof unit
follow the pedestrian in the same way as the eyes of an attentive driver. Together with the
front panel, they indicate that the ESV has seen the pedestrian and will
not move off. This is the first step, what we refer to in-house as
informed trust. This means letting the outside world know:
Hey, this vehicle
is in autonomous mode. In other words, really everyone knows that it may
sometimes behave a little differently from what we’re
used to. I compare it with riding a bicycle:
When you switch from a bicycle to a car, you first need to learn a few things, how …
Right, this is how you’re used to doing things: I look, I see the driver, I quickly hop across
or wait for his signal. That now no longer
applies, because the car lives in its world and tries to see
others around it and to react. I’ll now show you a
scenario in which the vehicle, you can see from the turquoise colour that
the vehicle is in autonomous mode and is approaching a pedestrian crossing
and is therefore starting to brake. Now, to let the traffic behind know
why we’re braking, we indicate this here in the window.
The vehicle is now stopped and it becomes, as it were, transparent. This means that the car
behind can now see that a pedestrian is crossing the road, with the
chance that a child might be coming after her.
This is our contribution to greater safety for other road users around our vehicle. One of my favourite scenarios: Our
vehicle is parking. There’s nobody inside. It’s at a charging station, which means that we
can now also energise the sensors and we can now use our virtual
crumple zone, even though the vehicle isn’t driving. There are parked cars in front of
and behind our vehicle and I’m moving inattentively towards the
traffic in the road. The car detects me and the
traffic behind is immediately warned. Let’s take a look at this. Did you see that?
I’ll explain it again: The vehicle, using its sensors, has detected a pedestrian
crossing the road and has also seen that there’s traffic behind and has then
used the light signals and the audio signal and this
illuminated electroluminiscent sheet to tell the
traffic behind: Watch out, somebody’s crossing. Thereby hopefully preventing an accident. Hey, that’s really cool. The vehicle has made use of its sensors. If you were now to walk along here.
The road is behind us. There’s a car coming. You can’t see it.
Or perhaps it’s a child, which is more difficult to see anyway, because it’s smaller, in which case the car would say: Careful, there’s something strange here.
Right, that would be the audible warning. We can also see here at the front
the radiator grille, the headlights are on. The hazard warning lights are on.
To focus full attention on this,
it’s very good. We can also see at the top: a warning light.
We switch on the electroluminiscent sheet. Step by
step, to draw attention to the danger.
This is really good, because perhaps it isn’t so
obvious in daylight, but it’s a function that
may perhaps be necessary in poor visibility, for example, or at night. This
is the intelligent sheet, which can really be switched on, so that it then
lights up even more brightly. Very interesting technology.
These are not LEDs. It’s really paint that’s sprayed on. This is basically the same electroluminiscence that we know from glow-worms. This is
really a base paint, which is now energised, clearly mixed with
orange-coloured pigments. There are no glow-worms in it though.
But it’s also an important topic. Perhaps even more exciting
than before. Because, today, no-one thinks about it. Among other things, Mercedes-Benz
carried out visibility tests on these ESV vehicles in the 1970s.
I think it was somewhere in in a field near Sindelfingen. There were
20 cars and the yellow ones, a sort of neon yellow, and the
white cars were visible, while all the others were almost invisible. And as
today we unfortunately have – what’s unfortunate about it? I’ve got one myself – many black
and grey cars on the road, it’s the case that, today, cars that are yellow, orange or
white are clearly more noticeable. This is another contribution, that, perhaps
sometime in the future, every colour will be possible. For this colour to appear
under the normal paint finish ordered by the customer and then for it to light up at the press of a button. Such
an ESV – it was just the same with the ESV vehicles of the 1970s –
sometimes addresses issues for the next 10, 15 years.
In other words: never say never. Let’s wait and see. Can you see something flickering?
That’s actually paint that’s moving. Very interesting. Here at the front you can see that these are not just any old headlamps,
but the next generation. Not multibeam LEDs, this is called Digital Light. Some of you might have heard of it. It was unveiled in a Maybach some time last year, I think. Digital Light means that, for each headlamp,
i.e. for each side, there are one million pixels on a very small chip, with which it’s possible
to produce a virtually dazzle-free main beam – among other things.
For example, there are also the beautiful images of the Maybach, which projects warnings onto the road,
among other things, you can theoretically even project the roadway, how wide it is at roadworks, et cetera. This is a really cool
story as presented here. We’ve included this story
here, but we’ve taken it a bit further.
This is a contribution to active safety. You said that very well.
It’s all about communication. We can let the driver know what to
do with this vehicle, what we call: cooperative environmental communication. Sounds like a typical Daimler term. But what does
it mean? It means that we also show information on what’s going on around us.
For example, by using the rear window. A highly topical issue is
that of the rescue lane for emergency vehicles.
Right, a very important topic. Good point. It’s good that Mercedes-Benz has
addressed this issue. In the meantime, there are posters on every
bridge. If I remember rightly, I had
such a question during my driving test,
and I’ve kept it in my mind. It really surprises me that we
today need to talk about such minor things.
People just come to a stop and stay there. So, as long as vehicles don’t yet have
this kind of thing, remember to form a rescue lane for emergency vehicles. That’s very important.
What’s really good is that our vehicle, as a Level 4 vehicle, would do this
automatically, but, in addition, we can provide information, to those behind us
using the rear window. And at the other end, at the front, on the radiator grille:
please make way for emergency vehicles. Language doesn’t matter. You
don’t need to think about it. You can see it straight away: This is the situation.
Exactly, that’s always important. Unfortunately, many people can’t read.
I see this on the roads every day. So it’s good to have simple pictograms that everybody can understand.
That’s really very good, because a Mercedes-Benz is always
a high-quality, luxurious car and then we, as a Mercedes-Benz driver,
perhaps take for granted something that perhaps a
van driver can’t have on board, because perhaps it won’t
be so inexpensive. Older vehicles that don’t have it.
What’s really impressive is that you can do it at the front as well so that people can see it
in their interior rear-view mirror. A mirror image: “Rescue Lane”,
so that everyone in their vehicle can read it in their rear-view mirror.
And perhaps act accordingly: by making room. Here’s another
very interesting thing: the problem of wrong-way drivers.
The car gives a warning to others: “Wrong-Way Driver”. Danger, stay in the right lane. We’d do this
ourselves automatically. Using the right indicator, as shown here.
Stay in the right-hand lane, please. The goal here, for example, is this scenario:
I’d know, my car is driving slowly, perhaps in front there’s a car, a truck.
Why is the truck suddenly braking? He’s seen the danger and, hopefully,
before pulling out, he takes a look in his rear-view mirror
and sees the warning and stays where he is. Another great thing is that a Level
4 vehicle is shown here, which means that the driver isn’t aware
of any of this, because he’s handed over
the job of driving and is perhaps reading, phoning
or even asleep in the vehicle, because, with Level 4, that will be allowed,
that’s how things stand at present. And so what the vehicle knows is shared with others. But there’s
another possibility, I think. In case of an accident,
which, hopefully, of course, will be
prevented, but which can’t always be prevented, or a breakdown indicated here on the roof.
Right. I can remember, when I took
driving lessons, what we learned, that,
when I have a breakdown or an accident, the first thing I need to do is to make the situation safe.
Once again, we can use the rear window to send out messages.
Here for example: “Help is on the way”. We’ve already called
the police, for example. In other words, it’s not necessary for anyone else to stop,
we’ve already got the situation under control. That’s the first
step.Second step, this is just the very
danger that we’ve seen: What do I need to do? I need to
get out of my vehicle, open the boot,
unfold my warning triangle, which can be quite dangerous,
because, in this case, we have to walk with our warning triangle against the direction
of the traffic on the motorway, for example. What does the ESV do?
An automated robot will position itself at the correct distance and
wait until the scene of the danger has been made safe. And what’s really interesting is that,
if I now want to position the warning triangle myself, if we now really
think one step further, to a Level 5 vehicle,
a robo taxi, so to speak, then there really is no-one at the wheel. There’s nobody at all in the vehicle.
There might even be people inside who don’t have a driving licence,
i.e. they may not know how to set up a warning triangle. When I
order a taxi, I expect that, if something happens, my
taxi driver will set up the warning triangle, not me. You can forget about it,
and why not, because it also puts itself away automatically.
That’s right, you very often see, as I’m sure you have, that nice
warning triangle standing at the corner, its best days
behind it. My vehicle gives me a reminder
and then we can carry on. In 1975, the highly successful
ESV programme came to an end at Mercedes-Benz. The focus in
the period that followed was more on continuing to develop safety with a direct link to
at which point Karl-Heinz Baumann makes his return.
Over the years, he developed numerous safety systems: the
automatically extending roll-over bar, which was introduced in the SL of the R 129 model
series. The safety cell in the smart, the Tridion
safety cell in the smart subcompact and the PRE-SAFE system that was introduced in 2002,
another invention of Karl-Heinz Baumann. In 2007, when the
task was to prepare for the 50th anniversary of the safety bodyshell, the idea emerged: Why
not a new ESV? Yes, the big anniversary was coming up. Then, together with my
boss, Professor Schöneburg, I had the idea of producing another ESV
and also trying to bring the 2009 ESV Conference back to
Stuttgart. We were both successful in this. And it’s a
shared achievement of many engineers who worked on this, and the
key basis for this vehicle was this fundamental PRE-SAFE
idea, namely, not like in the past,
of seeing passive safety in not reacting until the impact
occurs, but in making better use of the time before the actual
impact. And let me start with this: namely with PRE-SAFE
Impulse Side. This is a system that we unveiled to the public at that time
in this vehicle. It’s now standard equipment in the E-Class.
Another example, perhaps the most spectacular in the ESV 2009, is the
so-called “Braking Bag”. As you all know, before an impact
happens, either the driver brakes or the vehicle brakes,
automatically in this case. In the case of automatic emergency braking or
manual braking, the vehicle dips down at the front and
the basic idea was to move the vehicle up again just
prior to impact. For this purpose, we provided an airbag
below the engine frame, between engine frame and underbody panel, and
this airbag inflates just prior to impact and presses the
underbody panel onto the road surface, pushing the vehicle upwards,
which means that there’s a dynamic force that then
increases the normal force of the vehicle, i.e. the contact force on the
ground, thereby resulting in an increased braking effect.
This, however, is something that can act only for a very short time.
It’s therefore necessary to precisely time the instant of triggering.
This is a very spectacular measure and we’ve demonstrated that, for example
with a speed reduction of 5 km/h from an initial speed
of 50 km/h, it’s perfectly possible to achieve this.
This means that, in the old ESVs, the engineers at that time made the
front ends longer. By 300 mm in the case of the ESV 13.
With this measure, we made the vehicle around 18 cm longer, but only virtually. Like autonomous or
automatic braking, this is a part of the crumple zone, but not in
the conventional sense, but in the sense of a virtual crumple zone. Ten years ago, in 2009, the area of lighting made a big advance. In the ESV, our
colleagues from active safety already had the first LED headlamps
and presented for the first time the Spotlight Function. Today
available in every vehicle. Especially in this area, a great deal
has happened. Here too, we turned our attention to the safety of
electric energy storage devices. The same applies to this car
and on this side we can see a very special feature. The PRE-SAFE Structure. The problem with a side impact is that there is very little room
in a door. When you lower the window, relatively little distance and space
is left between the window and the outer contour of
the vehicle. Of course, we need to strengthen
the door with door supports. The idea here was to take a flat door structure
that we can inflate, so to speak, using a gas generator. In principle,
you can picture it like a thin-walled tube that is pressed flat.
That’s what’s installed here. And it only becomes a tube when it’s
inflated by the pyrotechnical gas generator within 3
milliseconds. The effect is that you then have a tubular structure
that acts as a support, as an absorber, and which is stiffened by the internal pressure.
And this can be applied not just to such a component, it’s really
a fundamental idea for lightweight construction involving the
use of intelligent measures. In the ESV 2009, we also addressed the topic of the interactive
airbag. In a side impact or in a
vehicle roll-over, it’s perfectly possible for there to be contact
between the occupants, such as head contact. In this
vehicle, therefore, we used a so-called interactive airbag.
It’s housed here on the driver’s seat backrest.
It inflates and forms, so to speak, a protective cushion between the driver
and the passenger, so that interactions do not end in an impact between the two
occupants. The adaptivity of restraint systems was also a subject.
Depending on the seating position, there’s also a change in the volume of the
airbag. Let’s take a look inside. What
I see here is a new-type, small steering wheel. You spotted that right away. Let’s just demonstrate it. A bit like in business class. Quite right. I can fasten the seat belt.
And as you can see, I immediately have more room. I can now read
without problem and I also have legroom, a flat floor, which
is not only good for comfort, but also has a safety aspect.
In a crash, we always find that there are injuries
to the lower extremities. These come from the fact that, in a
crash, I slide off the pedal. These are typical ligament lesions
et cetera, which, of course, are not life-threatening, but nevertheless long and protracted.
No, but they can give you grief for a lifetime. Or you’re on
crutches for four weeks, which really isn’t so pleasant. And this now is a super thing that makes for improved comfort and safety.
However, we also want to create more comfort for the occupants by possibly moving the seat
further back. Therefore, we decided that, for
autonomous vehicles, instead of in the steering wheel, we want to integrate the
driver’s airbag in the instrument panel, in the same way as the front-passenger airbag.
What would now happen in a frontal collision? Matthias is now showing
us a normal airbag. If you look here at the
front, you can see the dashpot. With a conventional airbag, this is where you
would have your airbag. And it would deploy like this. Bang. And
as you can see, right, the contact is lacking, it needs a little more
volume. It’s a little too small for this seating position. That’s because
you’re now in a more comfortable seating position. Now it’s the turn of our new airbag. As you can see, the new airbag
isn’t on the steering wheel, there’s no airbag at all, in other words, we’ve taken it out
and integrated it in the dashboard. You can see its position here. Matthias will virtually superimpose
it again and allow the airbag to deploy. Right. As you can see, it has a completely
different shape. It’s actually almost like a
front-passenger airbag, what we in-house call a 3D shape, i.e. a 3D form of airbag.
As a result, it deploys across the steering wheel. This is lower down, which means that
it’s closer to you, therefore giving outstanding protection in
this seating position. We can, indeed should, cover areas,
we can cover the Sections of A-pillars, and possibly the displays to provide
better protection, regardless of where the occupant is actually seated and without
a relationship to the steering wheel. If we take a look at the protection system for
side impacts, the usual protection system is a windowbag, which is
installed at the top in the roof, as well as a sidebag, which is installed in the seats.
What we want to create with autonomous driving is comfort.
We want to make the seatback flatter and
achieve “relaxed sitting positions” . In this way, the head would
move increasingly downwards, in which case the coverage area of such a
windowbag is no longer sufficient. For this reason, in
this car – right, you’re looking in the right direction –
we have head protection and side protection in one airbag, which we call an
integral side airbag. Right. As you can see, they’re so close to you, on
both sides, incidentally, that they literally envelop you. And that’s what we’re aiming at,
having this on both sides, for protection in the event of a
side impact. Right, two wings,
which we call the “wing airbag” in-house. This system is stabilised by
check straps. This allows excellent deployment, and, above all,
good energy absorption, so that the the occupant is stable and more firmly
held in the seat. In principle, this second airbag
provides adequate protection against interactions between the
two occupants. This concept also gives consideration to
future solutions, where rotatable seats may come into play. Although this
wasn’t a subject with our ESV, we’re convinced
that such a seat is capable of protecting every passenger.
As we can see, we can also move on, if you look across to the rear,
where the child seat is, you can see a new technology integrated in the seatback,
making it possible for the first time for us to implement an airbag in the second
seat row. What we’ve done is to develop a tubular structure
that’s filled with a relatively small gas volume
from a cold gas generator. The airbag deploys in front of the vehicle occupants.
Now, the tubular structure alone is, of course, not sufficient for
restraint. We’ve filled the spaces with
a special film, which we’ve developed and patented. This
film is a valve film, which means that the surrounding air, which is
there upon deployment, flows directly into the airbag, but
cannot escape. We literally capture the air.
Inside this airbag, we have the same pressure as outside. So there’s
ambient pressure in the airbag. This is sufficient in a closed
system. Of course, adults benefit
from additional head protection. If there’s a child in
the restraint system, this tube can take evasive action.
This means that the tube would come up against an obstacle and then find
a different path. The path of least resistance, so to speak. The
force then acting on the child restraint system
is very small. In such a case, we wouldn’t additionally subject the child
to the pressure of the airbag. Nowadays, of course, the airbag is
a fact of life. And what’s really great: the airbag was first installed in a
production vehicle 40 years ago here in Sindelfingen, in the S-Class W 126. Of course, research was also going on elsewhere. In the USA, for example, but the system was actually developed to series production maturity here in Sindelfingen. So it’s good to see a completely new level
of development presented here. What I really want to say is that
the seat belt is still very, very important. An elementary
safety feature for the occupants. Here you can see something familiar from the old
SL vehicles. So the seat belts were made even more
user-friendly, with the all-new integral seat, which, in addition to
comfort, offers optimal protection thanks to the favourable
belt path. Always the same, even in different seating positions. Exactly right. I can fasten the seat belt. It wouldn’t be a problem here, because I can fasten my belt on the B-pillar. But
if I were to lie down completely flat, …
… we still have the ideal belt path. Right, the ideal belt path, making direct
contact with the body. I can also tension it nicely.
This PRE-SAFE tensioning is very effective when I closely fasten the belt. In a crash situation,
it would be slightly more forceful. You’ll be familiar with this if you know PRE-SAFE; when you start the engine, the belt is tensioned. This is roughly what it feels like. But we’ve not only integrated the existing
belt, there’s also an entirely new high-performance electric belt
tensioner. In other words, this gives us the possibility, for the
first time, to tension the belt all-electrically, i.e. without pyrotechnics,
with very great force in a crash,
which makes for better control. In other words, we can do things
differently than with pyrotechnics, where, once fired, that’s it. With electronic
belt tensioning, it’s also possible to proceed in stages. This provides more possibilities
for adapting to the occupants. During sporty cornering, represented here by the red line,
we have lateral acceleration. We’re all familiar with that. When you negotiate a bend
at speed, there are forces that try to pull you
outwards. In this case, we want to activate our reversible
belt tensioner and slightly tension the belt in the bend
to give better support to the upper body. We
don’t want to wait until we’ve reached the bend, we use map
data instead. We know our own speed, we know the position
and we know the radius of the approaching bend. This makes it possible to
calculate and predict the expected lateral acceleration in the bend.
And if this expected lateral acceleration is above a
certain level, as I’ve just said, when driving at higher speeds, the
belt is already slightly tensioned as we approach the bend.
The seat belt is still the Number 1 life-saver. Last year,
there was a good study conducted by German Insurers Accident Research, which
showed that, here in Germany, where there were 3,265 accident fatalities
last year, around 28% of the people killed were either not wearing a seat belt
or were wearing it incorrectly. If everyone had been correctly
belted up, then, as demonstrated by this study, it would have been possible to save 200
lives. This indicates the great potential
offered by seat belts. The reminder to belt up
can be seen here. A belt feeder has now been
integrated. As you can see, I can simply take hold of the belt,
fasten it, and the feeder then retracts. Luxurious and convenient. I don’t need to turn my body.
Otherwise you have to turn quite a lot. It depends on how flexible you are. From a certain
age, it becomes difficult. And that’s the problem: people want to wear a seat belt, but perhaps
can’t be bothered or are actually incapable of
reaching for it. And that’s where the belt feeder is really practical.
Incidentally, it was also invented by Mercedes-Benz. The first belt feeder
was in the C 126 in the S-Class Coupé in the early 1980s. After the doors have been closed
and the ignition switched on, the belts are fed automatically to the driver
and front passenger. This makes it even more convenient to wear
the belts. The belt buckle is familiar from the
S-Class. It already has them. But here there’s a new design. It all lights up,
as I’ve seen. Exactly, it has this illuminating ring. And the techies
among us will have noticed this. This is a USB-C interface.
Which means that I’ll have electric power here. But, of course, only
if I’m belted up. That’s the price of having electric power,
being belted up and therefore also safer. That’s a very small
price, I’d say. Learning by playing, actually. And it’s also a lesson
you won’t forget. When you unbelt, you’ve got the cable right in your hand
and can take it with you as you get out. That’s also very good for taxis.
It was also what motivated us to think about how we could add
even more functions to the seat belt. And as we’ve
said in our working lives: How can we make the seat belt into
the seat belt. So we developed this idea of the heated seat belt. Here
you can now see that the seat belt is heated to 42 degrees to provide a
pleasant warmth, which is clearly better felt by people than
on other areas of the body. Also from a safety aspect, it
means that we’re then more likely to
take off our thick winter jackets when we get into the
car, which, of course, again reduces the belt slack.
As we know, when we’re wearing a thick winter jacket,
the belt goes around our winter jacket. This automatically results in
more belt slack, which would be a lot worse in a
crash. The seat belt is designed with a
So you could say it has a double wall with thin
wires running along the inside. Heating wires, which are then heated, in a similar way to a heated seat. This
tubular structure, of the kind found here in the heated
seat belt, is already in use. As you can see in the ESV vehicle,
it already has a beltbag. The beltbag, that’s another
innovation from Mercedes-Benz, where we provide the rear occupants on the
rear seat bench with an airbag in the belt.
That’s another area where we already have experience with such a tubular structure. Of course,
the idea is to incorporate this experience in
future with the heated
seat belt. It’s like a heat cushion or
a hot water bottle. You also need it if you want a heated steering wheel. This is really very interesting. You’ve got a little friend,
who’s not yet said anything. Right. He also has a name.
Dummies always used to be called Oscar. Right, he’s probably the new Oscar.
Little Oscar. As you can see, in a very stylish child seat.
Let’s take a closer look at this from the other side. This is another
good point. Because child safety was always a top priority for Mercedes-Benz. You think
I’m making all this up, but you can read all about it. Child safety
was always a top priority for Mercedes-Benz. Perhaps this isn’t
an ESV. There was the Auto 2000, you can admire it in the Mercedes-Benz Museum.
Incidentally, there’s also the old ESV 22, which, back in 1981, already came with
child protection measures in the rear. This here, of course, is the latest status.
Here there’s also PRE-SAFE, so this is probably much more than
just a child seat. Exactly, you’ve put your finger on it. This
child seat not only looks pretty good, it also has many
safety features. And before we actively come to PRE-SAFE,
I’ll now start to talk about how to install it. That’s the first step.
What’s the first important thing? Making sure it’s correctly positioned.
Making it easy to put the child in the seat. We want this to be as easy as possible, to prevent mistakes. In this case, the parents are to blame if the child isn’t correctly belted up. The parents couldn’t be bothered or it simply didn’t work. That’s why this is really the first step. Exactly, starting with the seat, I’ll quickly show you.
The nice thing is that you can turn it a bit. In other words, you
can really turn it to make it easier to put the child in.
Of course, the seat must be facing either forwards or backwards,
in a 90 degree position. It must not be in an undefined position like this, that’s
clear. So it’s very important to receive immediate
feedback from these small devices – here we have 8 symbols – confirming that
the child seat is correctly installed. But we also call this child seat a connected child seat. Why? Because it’s connected to the vehicle. As a special feature and a world
first, this child seat is equipped with a PRE-SAFE system.
In other words, along with triggering PRE-SAFE in the vehicle, we can also
trigger the PRE-SAFE system in the child seat. The belt slack
can be reduced by pre-tensioning the belt system, as you can see in
this animation. By better coupling the child to the
child seat, we can ensure that the child moves less in relation to the child
seat, thereby significantly reducing the risk of injury, particularly in the head
and neck area. The second protection system is a
side impact protection system, which extends at the side to make early
contact with the door panel. Overall, this means a lower
acceleration. And, ultimately, a reduced severity of injury for the
child, for the baby in a side impact. Just as with the tensioning of the
belts, this is reversible. This child seat can also be
connected to a USB-C cable on the vehicle to provide a
continuous exchange of data with the vehicle. Here we have a child seat
in the menu. It informs us at a glance.
In English, of course, as the vehicle is set to English. “All fine”.
The child is OK. If we go in here,
to see things better … Ah, I can also see how little Oscar is doing. Right, that’s the second function. What I referred to before is the
diagnostic function. I can see here whether the child seat
at the back is off. The small flash at the front. At the moment, everything is off. Here, for example, with “Support Leg”,
something’s not right, he’s not far enough away, so the system now tells
me. A small animation. There’s a problem,
for example, the belt isn’t fastened. Are these the 8 points you said
are monitored? Exactly.
We know from accident research data, surveys and
observations that almost one in two child seats, or 48%,
are not correctly or not completely installed.
Or the belt is not correctly positioned. So it’s
important to check the correct installation of the child seat. When I started at Mercedes-Benz,
I don’t know which model series, but for the first time there was belt
buckle recognition for the rear. I think it was even for the old A-Class 169, which
told the driver whether the passengers in the rear were correctly seated and
whether their belts were properly fastened. Nothing all that noteworthy nowadays.
It’s just that the child in the back can repeatedly say: yes, yes, I’ve fastened my belt. But if you
don’t see the symbol, you can’t be sure. One of the
main mistakes when fastening a seat belt is that it doesn’t
correctly latch. Next, we need to reduce the belt slack until
we hear a clicking noise, but the child can free itself from this
belt system and, for example, pull the shoulder belt part
down from its shoulder. If that happens, the tension in the belt
system decreases and there’s then a warning in the head unit that
the child is freeing itself from this belt system. The child menu is
the default menu during normal driving.
It tells you whether the child is awake, sleeping or feeling
unwell. The live cam menu can be activated when the vehicle is stationary.
In other words, if you’ve briefly stopped at a red light, you can take a
look at the child. Particularly when you look to the rear and can’t actually see the
child’s face, it’s especially useful to take a look
using the camera. The built-in camera also detects
when a child is getting restless. In this case, you’re told
to take a break. The camera detects this from the
facial expression of the child. It also
tells you the temperature of the child seat and the
child’s heart rate. This continuous
exchange of data between child seat and vehicle also makes it possible for this
information to be sent to the Mercedes me App. In other words, you can also
see the data on your smartphone, in addition to
taking a look at the image from the live camera. In any vehicle, only around
10-15% of the outside light gets into the vehicle.
That’s very little. Now, when I’m driving either early in the morning
or in the evening dusk, perhaps with a hard day’s work
behind me, I might not be quite so attentive.
The nice thing here is that you can also see it from the colour, which acts on
certain receptors in the eye, which are now activated for the
diurnal rhythm. We’ve been able to demonstrate that, with our application of light, we
can apply considerably more light to our eyes. And our measurements
also showed that drivers drove much more
attentively. In our passenger car study using converted E-Classes, we were also able
to demonstrate that our test subjects drove considerably more
attentively. In addition, our vehicle
systems also confirmed the effectiveness of the lighting. For example,
on the journeys on which we had no additional lighting in the
vehicle, there were several Attention Assist warnings, because, over time,
the driver became tired and lost concentration. On the journeys
with vitalising interior light, there wasn’t a single warning.
I can switch it on for you now. This is the intensity we’ve
developed as a light shower. For thousands of years,
humans have been used to daylight coming into their eyes from above,
particularly with this blueish-white colour. Accordingly,
we have certain cells in our eyes that were only discovered
a few years ago, and these are sensitive to precisely this mix of wavelengths.
That’s why we need this blueish colour. We add a white LED to the spectrum
to produce this blue-white mixture that corresponds to
natural daylight. And this doesn’t depend on the weather. We can turn on our artificial sky
with this vitalising lighting and always have our
sunlight with us. While driving, we need to adjust it to
the ambient brightness using an outside light sensor.
And when we use it as a light alarm clock, then the colour actually
changes. In this case, the lighting increases, quite gently from a warm-white
shade, until we arrive at this biologically active, intense
colour mixture. And this enables us to become a little more
alert and more focused, when at the wheel, and perhaps later, with the car
in autonomous mode, it’d be nice to switch the light on a quarter of
an hour before, the so-called light shower. This is also part of the
safety aspect, but it’s also a lead-up to the time when these
problems of getting tired no longer arise. Earlier, we had no idea
that there could be such problems. As you’ve seen, the ESV doesn’t
drive just in autonomous mode, it also has a steering wheel. In other words, you,
the driver, can decide whether or not to drive yourself. So we decided
to extend the classic assistance functions to
sensors. The first function we extended
is the active Brake Assist. The wide viewing aperture of the sensors
allows us to look well into this T-junction,
even though the traffic is not yet visible to the driver,
such as here. In this case, the driver will
first receive a visual warning: Watch out, there’s a car coming. If things are a bit more critical, there’s
an additional, audiovisual warning. If the driver fails to react, they’re prevented
from driving on or moving off or are slowed down if this would inevitably
lead to an accident. If necessary, the vehicle is autonomously braked to a
stop. Of course, this only happens
if driving off would inevitably lead to an accident.
Another system we’ve extended is the 360-degree protection of vulnerable road users
during parking and manoeuvring. Low speed sounds very
simple, but this is a highly complex matter
for the sensors. Many obscured obstacles. They need to ensure all-round monitoring.
We currently achieve this through sensor fusion of ultrasound and cameras.
This enables us to detect pedestrians who move into the vehicle’s path,
in which case autonomous braking is triggered.
This applies both when driving forwards and when reversing. It applies especially when
pedestrians walk alongside the vehicle. Here, someone
walks through the gap, in which case the side of the car would have
hit them. These are two highlights that would be possible because of the sensors. Thus, the classic
driver assistance systems are being continuously further developed.
[Music] The ESV 2019 also pays attention to the
traffic behind and can warn other drivers against tailgating. Immediately before a rear-end collision,
it reduces the gap to the vehicle in front, provided sufficient space is available.
This gives the vehicle behind a greater distance in which to stop. The interesting thing is – if you follow the
topic of safety at Mercedes-Benz – then you’ll know that accident research
has been going on for 50 years. That is, not only crash tests,
which have been going on for considerably longer. The official starting year was 1959, which means
a figure that now adds up to 60. Since then, there have been
really systematic crash tests involving the use of calculations and dummies in order
to find out what happens. But, for 50 years, the company has also
been studying genuine accidents. In other words, a customer has had an accident in their Mercedes-Benz and
a team travels out to take a look at the accident and can then
find out what was bad about the vehicle and where, and what could be improved
or differently designed for the
future. And this is, so to speak, the product of these observations. This involves a great deal of research.
This is what we call Real Life Safety. In other words, we build our car
according to all the legal requirements, but we go further. Many
safety systems that might look a little futuristic, as
in every ESV, also the very early ones, as you mentioned: ABS, airbag, ESP.
But also, for example, in the ESV 2009, these multibeam LEDs, PRE-SAFE Impulse Side. These are
all systems we first presented in an ESV. And introduced very soon
at the time. Like you perhaps, I wouldn’t be too surprised: that some
of the ideas presented in this vehicle might not need 20 years
before we see them in other vehicles but make an appearance
fairly soon. Many thanks for this really interesting
conversation. I hope you enjoyed it too, see you again soon. My name is Julien Richert. I headed this
ESV 2019 programme and what’s really great about this project is
the warning triangle robot. My name is Eric Gärtner. I’m a
development engineer at Daimler, innovation project manager for the tubular
or rear airbag and I think it’s great that we’ve now come so
far that we’ve managed to install an airbag in the rear. My name is Claus Geissler. Two
years ago, I was told by our boss,
Professor Schöneburg, to come up with some ideas for a new Experimental
Safety Vehicle and, in the last two years, we’ve managed to actually
implement all the ideas we came up with and are so excited
to be able to present this finished vehicle to you today. We
also see all these ideas being taken up by companies
and, without doubt, turning up in future vehicles. My name is Jochen Feese. I’m responsible at Mercedes-Benz Passenger Car Development for
accident research, the new concepts and innovations in the field of
passive safety. What I most enjoyed about creating the Experimental
Safety Vehicle 2019 was the interdisciplinary work within this team,
which is made up of stylists, developers, designers, communications people and marketing people. This was what really
drove us forward and made things enjoyable, this interdisciplinary
work. My name is Stephan Mücke. I work in active safety,
normally in the validation of our assistance systems. For me,
the best challenge was to see what such an autonomous
vehicle can offer in terms of added safety for the other
road users around it. How it can communicate with others. My name is Hakan Ipek. As part of the
ESV 2019 project, I worked on the new child seat. This was
interesting inasmuch as I’ve been observing for years how PRE-SAFE was
always being further developed for adults. For me, as a developer in
child safety, it was important to get to the same level we’ve long been
offering for adults, simply making the system better. We do things that have never been done anywhere in our entire
industry. We go in directions that no-one has ever been. And what’s really
great about it is that we’ve not just had one idea, which
we then implemented, but things keep moving on all the time. Once again
in this ESV vehicle, more and more new ideas, more and more new
approaches, breaking new ground all the time. This is incredibly exciting and
motivating work. My name is Ralf Bogenrieder and I’m system
supervisor for PRE-SAFE. My name is Matthias Struck. I work on safety communications at
Mercedes-Benz and what I like most is that, with this vehicle, we’re
presenting an integrated concept and not just individual features within
that integrated concept, putting a great deal of energy into all the
phases of safety. My name is Karl-Heinz-Baumann.
I was head of Concepts and Strategies, Passive Safety, for many
years. I’m now standing in front of the ESV 2019, which my colleagues have
developed, a platform incorporating all the ideas that the engineers
have come up with.Their ideas on how to further develop safety, how to discuss it
with each other, as well as with our customers and with other
experts. And it’s certain that many of the features from this vehicle will
in future also turn up in our series-produced vehicles.