Safety - at the heart of all our thinking

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The Integral Safety Concept from Mercedes-Benz divides vehicle safety into four phases:

Virtually no other area inspires the Mercedes-Benz engineers to produce such consistently impressive results as much as research into new safety technologies. The first important safety milestone was reached back in the 1950s with the development of the passenger safety cell, invented by Béla Barényi. Today it is just one of many components of the Integral Safety Concept which edges Mercedes-Benz vehicles ever closer to our vision of accident-free driving.

Phase 1: safe driving

DISTRONIC PLUS proximity control with STEER CONTROL (optional)[1]
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The assistance system maintains the vehicle at the desired speed and automatically controls the distance between it and the vehicle in front. Additionally, the newly-integrated STEER CONTROL function helps the driver to stay in lane. The system takes the strain off the driver, particularly in traffic jams and stop-and-go traffic, because it autonomously brakes the vehicle and - within certain speed ranges - causes the vehicle to accelerate again.


ADAPTIVE BRAKE with Hill-Start Assist, priming, brake drying and HOLD function

This modular brake system increases the vehicle's performance in respect of traction, driving safety and ease of operation because it supplements the basic ABS and BAS Brake Assist functions with additional comfort and safety functions such as Hill-Start Assist and the HOLD function.

By priming the brakes the brake linings are already applied should the driver takes his foot abruptly off the accelerator. The valuable time won as a result shortens the brakes' response time and can thus reduce the stopping distance.

The HOLD function relieves the driver when stopping at traffic lights or in stop-and-go traffic by preventing unintentional rolling back of the vehicle. If the brake pedal is firmly depressed for a short time, it then maintains the braking pressure, allowing the driver to take his foot off the brake. The function switches itself off again automatically as the car moves off.

The system also intervenes to support the driver on uphill gradients, thereby helping to make the journey more relaxed. The Hill-Start Assist function prevents the vehicle from rolling back when moving from the brake to the accelerator pedal.

And finally, the brake drying function provides a further boost to safety: In wet conditions, short braking impulses, unnoticeable to the driver, ensure that the water film which forms on the brake discs in wet conditions is removed and the response time of the brakes can be considerably shortened.

Adaptive LED brake light, flashing

The clearly noticeable light signal from these brake lamps makes a valuable contribution towards preventing rear-end collisions. It increases perceptual safety for vehicles following on behind and significantly shortens their drivers' reaction times.

Durable LED technology is deployed here, which ensures better recognisability than with conventional bulb sets. In emergency braking the brake lamps flash at a frequency of approx. five hertz, which has been proven to be effective in tests.

If the vehicle is brought to a complete standstill from a speed greater than 70 km/h, the hazard warning lamps switch on automatically.In this way the system provides additional safety, for example at the end of a tailback on a motorway.

Active Lane Keeping Assist (optional)[1]

The Active Lane Keeping Assist system permanently monitors the road markings. The driver is warned by a discreet vibration of the steering wheel and an audible signal as soon as he unintentionally leaves the identified lane.

Should solid lines be crossed in an uncontrolled manner, this can be countered by an active braking intervention, so that the vehicle is returned to the lane it was in.

Active Lane Keeping Assist can now also recognise potentially dangerous oncoming traffic and vehicles in the neighbouring lane and, if required, guide the vehicle back into its lane with targeted braking interventions.

Active Blind Spot Assist (optional)[1]

Active Blind Spot Assist uses radar and monitors the blind spot areas to the left, right, side and rear of the vehicle at speeds of between 30 and 250 km/h.

If a vehicle is detected within the monitored range, a warning symbol is displayed in the driver's exterior mirror. Should the driver overlook the warning and start to change lanes, the ESP® system can intervene actively and guide the vehicle back into the lane.

ATTENTION ASSIST

Increases driving safety by reducing the risk of nodding off at the wheel. Dangerous situations such as these can be avoided, in particular on long journeys and when driving at night.

The system analyses the driver's driving style at speeds between 60 and 200 km/h, and issues an audible and visual warning as soon as it detects a deviation from the established way of driving.

BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist (optional)[1]

In an emergency braking situation the BAS PLUS Brake Assist system can help shorten the stopping distance. The system provides the brake pressure necessary for the situation in the event of danger, as soon as the driver brakes.

Additionally, BAS PLUS Brake Assist with Cross Traffic Assist is, for the first time, able to recognise traffic and pedestrians crossing ahead and can subsequently boost the braking power applied by the driver.

Brake Assist (BAS)

The brake system can detect emergency braking situations based on the speed with which the brake pedal is depressed and automatically build up full braking power so that the stopping distance is shortened and safety increased.

The anti-lock braking system (ABS) simultaneously meters the braking power up to the slip threshold so that the vehicle remains steerable. As soon as the driver releases the brake pedal, the automatic brake boosting is turned off again.

ESP® Dynamic Cornering Assist

The system can reduce under-steering, particularly where there are difficult road conditions. Thus, for example, it can give greater roadholding when accelerating into bends, by slightly reducing the effective revolutions of the rear wheel on in the inside of the bend and thereby improving handling.

Headlamp Assist

Takes the strain off the driver by automatically regulating the low-beam headlamps, dependent on the light conditions. This makes a significant contribution to driving safety, particularly where there are rapidly changing light condition, such as when entering a tunnel or underground car park.

LED Intelligent Light System (optional)
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Maximum light emission with excellent energy efficiency and a long product life: The LED High Performance headlamps adapt the light distribution according to the driving conditions and thereby make an important contribution to safe driving.

One highlight is the Adaptive Highbeam Assist Plus. The system provides automatic highbeam control with gentle transitions and adaptive headlamp range adjustment for lowbeam light. And the really ingenious feature: part of the main beam cones are blanked out for oncoming traffic or vehicles ahead. But the side of the road remains illuminated by the main beam, without any road users being dazzled. Maximum vision also ensures maximum safety.

Other lighting modes providing a very high degree of safety in conditions of poor visibility are the country mode, motorway mode, enhanced fog light function as well as the cornering light function and the active light function.

Night View Assist Plus (optional)
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Unlit, unfamiliar roads, wild animals crossing or hard-to-make-out pedestrians - driving at night brings some risks of its own. The innovative technology deployed in this assistance system can reduce these dangers by allowing the driver to "see in the dark".

A camera working together with two LED infrared headlamps projects objects that might otherwise go unseen onto the display in the instrument cluster. This shows a greyscale picture of the scene ahead of the vehicle, which has sharp resolution and is pleasant on the eyes, in which people and animals that have been registered are highlighted. Additionally, if the spotlight function is switched on, the front headlamp will flash at any person spotted on the passenger's side of the road.

Reversing camera with dynamic guide lines in display (optional)

Simply feel safer – thanks to increased safety and all-round vision when parking and manoeuvring. As soon as the reverse gear is engaged, the camera in the rear transmits a picture of the area behind the vehicle to the central display, giving the driver a better view of the immediate rear area.

Dynamic help lines are shown when manoeuvring, which show the direction of travel, outside contours and distance lines relevant to the steering angle. Additionally, the PARKTRONIC system provides the driver with information in the central display.

A trailer mode is also offered in conjunction with the "trailer coupling" optional extra . In this, the camera zooms in on the ball neck in the trailer coupling. This mode provides the driver with specific help lines to make manoeuvring up to and attaching a trailer easier.

Traffic Sign Assist

Speed Limit Assist has been systematically developed further: The system now recognises no overtaking signs and warns the driver with an acoustic warning signal if he is about to enter a no-entry road.

The camera on the inside of the front windscreen continues to capture signed speed limits, including those on gantry signs or in roadworks, for example. The data are compared with the data held in the navigation system and can be displayed both in the instrument cluster and in the map view.

No overtaking signs and their discontinuation signs are registered and displayed. In addition, for no-entry signs, a visual and audible warning signal is shown/played in the instrument cluster – an effective contribution towards avoiding serious accidents caused by wrong-way drivers.

Phase 2: in critical situations

Mercedes-Benz stands for automotive safety. That's why our vehicles can support their passengers even in critical driving situations, so that every journey is as safe as it can possibly be.

Anti-lock braking system (ABS)

Increases driving safety by shortening the stopping distance, in particular on slippery road surfaces, thereby stabilising the vehicle in emergency braking. Through intermittent control of the braking pressure the wheels do not lock.

Acceleration skid control (ASR)

Ensures that wheels do not get into a spin when accelerating. When starting off on snow, ice or gravel in particular, the ASR acceleration skid control system prevents individual wheels from spinning. This also prevents the vehicle from swerving.

BAS PLUS with Cross-Traffic Assist (optional)[1]

In an emergency braking situation the BAS PLUS Brake Assist system can help shorten the stopping distance. The system provides the brake pressure necessary for the situation in the event of danger, as soon as the driver brakes.

Additionally, BAS PLUS Brake Assist with Cross Traffic Assist is, for the first time, able to recognise traffic and pedestrians crossing ahead and can subsequently boost the braking power applied by the driver.

COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST

The system can warn the driver as soon as the safe distance between the vehicle and a vehicle in front or a stationary obstacle has been breached. If needed, the integral Adaptive Brake Assist can assist the driver by automatically boosting braking power.

PRE-SAFE® system

Mercedes-Benz has systematically developed and refined this pioneering vehicle occupant protection system further: The principle of reversible pinning of occupants into their seats has been transferred to the outer rear seats through installing a seat belt buckle extender with PRE-SAFE® function. With this, the PRE-SAFE® system makes an important contribution towards increasing the safety of rear-seat passengers.

The system comprises the following functions:

  • Readies vehicle occupants and the vehicle for a possible impact
  • Supports the protective effect of seat belts and airbags, dependent on the vehicle model and its the vehicle equipment
  • Increases occupant safety through triggering various safety mechanisms
  • Protects the occupants from objects penetrating and flying around in the interior

Phase 3: in an accident

Cars from Mercedes-Benz have a host of safety systems to prevent accidents. Should the worst come to the worst, however, a number of different safety measures are activated to give the best possible protection for all the vehicle occupants.

Airbags for driver and front passenger with adaptive levels for the front passenger airbag

The airbags for the driver and front passenger provide protection for the head and torso in a collision, afford additional stability to the entire body and can reduce the severity of injuries in an accident.

The two airbags are inflated in two stages.With the front passenger airbag, the adaptive stage ensures that the inflation is varied according to needs, dependent on the seating position and stature of the front passenger.

If there is a Mercedes-Benz approved child seat on the front passenger seat, the standard-fit child seat recognition system will automatically deactivate the front passenger airbag. In this way small children in the child seat are protected from injuries caused by the inflating front passenger airbag, in particular for child seats designed to face towards the back.

Pedestrian protection (active bonnet)

In a head-on collision with pedestrians or cyclists, the system can significantly reduce the risk of injury. If sensors in the front bumper register an impending collision, the bonnet rises up by approximately 80 millimeters using a pyrotechnical propellant. The increased gap between the (soft) bonnet and the (hard) engine inside reduces the impact energy and thus the risk of serious injuries.

PRE-SAFE® impulse

The best possible protection if the worst came to the worst: The system can reduce the force and strain acting on the vehicle occupants in a frontal collision, momentarily remove them from the force of the crash and increase the protective effect.

To do this, in the early phase of a collision the occupants are moved away from the crash direction through the tightening of their seat belts. At the point of greatest stress the energy is reduced, releasing the belt again, so that the force and strains acting on the occupants can be reduced.

This function works on the front seats through the three-point safety belt system. The major difference between this and conventional systems is that the power pulling in the seat belt can be maintained for a significantly longer period of time than was hitherto usual.

PRE-SAFE® rear package
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The anticipatory occupant protection is a pioneering system and part of the integral safety concept from Mercedes-Benz. This concept has been taken a clear step further forward in the S-Class. This package enhances the effectiveness of the protection for passengers in the rear in the event of frontal impact.

In a dangerous situation the PRE-SAFE® system causes the seat belt buckle extender to move down from its neutral position. The tension created in the seat belts holds the passengers in place in a critical driving situation and readies them for possible impact. If a crash does occur, the seat belt buckle extender returns to its higher position to aid rescue of the occupants and the tension in the seat belts is relaxed.

The outer-rear seats are also fitted with a beltbag. This specially-designed belt is woven from a single piece of material and fitted with a tear seam. It is arranged in such a way that the bag area unfurls itself when triggered and can be filled. The beltbag can reduced the pressure on the thorax.

Sidebags for driver and front passenger (combined thorax/pelvis airbag)

Reduced risk of serious injuries in an accident: These air cushions help to protect the upper body and pelvic area in a side impact. They also help to stabilise the whole body.

Rear sidebags, left and right

Reduced risk of serious injuries in an accident: The sidebags in the rear help to protect the body in the event of a side impact. They stabilise the entire upper body and can help to reduce the severity of injuries sustained in an accident.

They are triggered if the crash sensors register acceleration or deceleration forces acting on the vehicle in excess of a specific threshold. The sidebags deploy at chest height between the side of the vehicle and the occupant.

Windowbags

Can protect the head optimally in a side impact – regardless of the size of the passengers affected. As the windowbag is deployed between the A- and C-pillars, rear passengers in the outer rear seats will also be protected.At the same time, the danger of grit or other objects penetrating the main compartment is reduced.

Phase 4: after an accident

To reduce consequential damage after an accident and support the work of the rescue services, a number of different actions are initiated, depending on the type and severity of the accident:

  • Best possible protection: the engine can be turned off automatically and the fuel supply can be cut off.
  • Eye-catching lighting: hazard and emergency interior lights can activate automatically to lower the risk of accidents and help locate the car.
  • Better rescue possibilities: Crash joints between the wing and the door can make opening the doors after a frontal collision easier. The doors can also be automatically unlocked to give emergency services access to the occupants.
  • Direct connection: the Mercedes-Benz emergency call system (part of COMAND Online) can automatically make an emergency call through a connected mobile phone, as soon as the restraint system has recognised that an accident has occurred. It will communicate GPS positional data and other information to the Mercedes-Benz emergency call centre. It will then be possible to talk to the centre.

The Rescue Guidelines for emergency services and rescue data sheets developed by Mercedes-Benz as a source of information for rescue services are available on the internet around the world and in multiple languages.

Rescue guidelines for emergency services (Daimler website)

[1] Part of the optional Driving Assistance package Plus