Most people associate Mercedes-Benz with luxury, power, and engineering. However, the boys from Stuttgart are also pioneers in the field of automotive safety, and in 2009 they mark the anniversary of the crumple zone (circa 1939) and the in-house accident research function (adopted in 1959). What better way to celebrate than with a concept car, debuting a number of innovations that are at the pinnacle of safety research?
This ESF, or Experimental Safety Vehicle, is based on the S400 Hybrid platform, which is a fitting choice because the S-Class typically serves as a platform to introduce the latest Benz gadgetry to the world. The ESF employs a “braking bag,” which lies in the floor of the vehicle and serves to create additional friction, slowing the car when it deems that a crash is imminent. Not all of the safety features are this conspicuous, however; the Interactive Vehicle Communication system allows vehicles passing each other to relay information pertaining to inclement weather or road obstacles. A partial LED headlight optimizes lighting on the periphery of a typical headlight beam pattern, specifically illuminating objects that most headlights would miss. As the piece de resistance, MB has created PRE-SAFE Pulse, which actually moves passengers up to 50mm closer to the center of the vehicle in order to reduce force on the upper body. The ESF debuted earlier this week at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles Conference in Stuttgart.
See images and videos on the Mercedes ESF s400 Hybrid Concept 2009 after the jump.