Mercedes wants road-related deaths to be a thing of the past.
A few years ago, Volvo made a bold claim that all of its cars will be "deathproof” by 2020 and that "no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo” thanks to the company’s constantly improving safety tech. Now, Mercedes is making a similar claim about its upcoming safety-focused ESF concept that will debut in the middle of this year. In an interview with Motoring, Mercedes' R&D boss Ola Kalennius claimed the new concept will be uncrashable thanks to the car’s cutting-edge safety tech. "Safety is the core DNA of Mercedes and the ultimate goal is zero accidents in traffic,” he said.
The new ESF is expected to showcase improvements in autonomous driving tech and collision prevention, as well as new occupant protection systems designed to reduce injury during a crash. "Things like autonomous driving and sophisticated driver assistance are all enablers to reduce traffic accidents. Because virtually all traffic accidents are human error,” said Kalennius.
He went on to hint the concept will be equipped with an artificial intelligence system that collects driving data and shares it with a central server to constantly improve the driver assistance systems and make deaths on the road a thing of the past. Some of the safety features that will be demonstrated are almost showroom ready, according to Kalennius.
"I don’t want to say what the features are [but] there are some things that are very hands-on and very close to series deployment,” he said. "Having been in engineering for a couple of years, I’m absolutely amazed at the ingenuity and creativity of the engineers. It never stops. We will do something in the middle of this year, to demonstrate what the future of safety is going to look like,” he said.” This suggests the new ESF concept could debut at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September.
What isn’t clear, however, is which car the new ESF concept will be based on. The previous version that debuted in 2009 was based on the S400 hybrid sedan and was loaded with safety tech including metal structures that inflated in a crash to provide extra protection and seats that moved towards the center of the car to increase the crush space during a side impact.