Over the past ten years, Mercedes-Benz has played a pivotal role in enhancing road safety, marking a significant achievement with over 10 million vehicles equipped with advanced pedestrian emergency braking systems. This milestone reflects the automaker’s commitment to reducing accidents and protecting vulnerable road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.
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Comprehensive Safety Through Active Assistance Systems
Mercedes-Benz’s approach to road safety extends beyond traditional measures. The company offers more than 40 active assistance systems, highlighting its dedication to safeguarding not only vehicle occupants but all road users. Among these systems, the Active Brake Assist with pedestrian detection stands out, significantly contributing to accident prevention in urban and rural settings.
The Active Brake Assist system is a testament to technological innovation in road safety. It incorporates both visual and acoustic warnings to alert drivers of potential collisions, effectively addressing the risks from intersecting or oncoming vehicles. The system’s intelligence lies in its ability to augment the driver’s braking effort or initiate emergency braking if the driver fails to respond.
Leveraging camera and radar-based sensor technology, the current generation of Mercedes-Benz vehicles can detect pedestrians and cyclists, calculating the necessary braking force to prevent or mitigate collisions.
A Decade of Safety Innovations
Since 2012, Mercedes-Benz has been a frontrunner in integrating pedestrian emergency braking systems into its passenger cars, reaching the impressive milestone of over 10 million vehicles worldwide. This achievement is particularly significant given the vulnerability of pedestrians, who lack protective features like airbags or seat belts.
Accident statistics underscore this vulnerability: In 2020, pedestrians accounted for nearly one-fifth of all road fatalities in the European Union, and in 2021, they comprised 17% of traffic fatalities in the USA.
Further emphasizing the effectiveness of such systems, a 2022 study by the American Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that vehicles equipped with pedestrian emergency braking systems had a 27% lower rate of pedestrian-involved accidents than those without.
Evolution of Brake Assist Systems
Mercedes-Benz’s journey in enhancing brake technology began in 1996 with the introduction of the first Brake Assist System (BAS). This journey saw significant advancements, including the integration of radar technology in 2005 for anticipatory braking and the combination of DISTRONIC PLUS and BAS PLUS in 2006, leading to the development of PRE-SAFE® Brake with autonomous partial braking.
The crucial pedestrian detection feature was added in 2013, initially introduced in the E-Class (W212) and later becoming standard in the 2016 E-Class (W213). Since 2021, Active Brake Assist has been a standard feature in all new Mercedes-Benz car models, surpassing the EU’s legal requirements for city emergency brake assist systems.
Towards Vision Zero: The Real-Life Safety Philosophy
Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to road safety is driven by its “Real-Life Safety” philosophy. With over 50 years of systematic accident research, the company aims to construct vehicles that excel in both controlled crash-test scenarios and real-world accidents. This philosophy aligns with the company’s ambitious Vision Zero goal, aiming for a future without accidents involving Mercedes-Benz vehicles by 2050.
“Safety is part of Mercedes-Benz’s DNA and one of our core commitments to all road users. And to us, protecting human lives is not a question of drive system. The recent crash test involving two fully electric vehicles demonstrates this. It proves that all our vehicles have an equally high level of safety, no matter what technology drives them.
We are working hard to achieve our vision of accident-free driving, which goes beyond the “Vision Zero” objectives set by the WHO and the United Nations Regional Commissions. We don’t just want zero traffic fatalities by 2050 and a halving in the number of traffic fatalities and serious injuries by 2030 compared to 2020. Our goal by 2050 is zero accidents involving a Mercedes-Benz vehicle,”
said Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer.
The Future of Road Safety Systems
Looking ahead, Mercedes-Benz continues to innovate, with future assistance systems set to become even more effective through advanced sensors and artificial intelligence. These developments signal a new era in road safety, particularly for vulnerable road users like pedestrians and cyclists.
Mercedes-Benz’s proactive approach and technological advancements exemplify the automotive industry’s potential to contribute significantly to global road safety.