* The Mercedes-Benz Safety Truck shows what is possible nowadays
* The new Active Brake Assist (emergency braking aid) will save lives
* Number of accidents with fatalities is declining significantly
* Safety features right up to a rescue guideline
* The safety technology of tomorrow is being developed today
Brussels, May 11, 2006
The goals are certainly ambitious. On the one hand the European Union forecasts that goods traffic will increase by around 75 percent by the year 2030, but on the other the number of road traffic fatalities is to be reduced by half between 2001 and 2010. Accordingly Mercedes-Benz is second to none in driving new safety developments onward, with the vision of accident-free driving as the greater objective. The Mercedes-Benz Safety Truck has a particularly important role within this context, as it shows the high level of safety already feasible today.
The new Active Brake Assist (emergency braking aid) will save lives
The future has already begun: the Safety Truck by Mercedes-Benz is already a reality today, as a unique vehicle which combines all the driver support and safety systems currently available. The latest development highlight is the new Active Brake Assist system. This automatically initiates emergency braking action if a collision with a vehicle travelling ahead is unavoidable, thereby considerably reducing the severity of the consequences. It is therefore entirely realistic to claim that Active Brake Assist will save lives. As a major advantage, the Safety Truck is based on the Actros heavy-duty truck and is already available from any authorised Mercedes-Benz outlet throughout Europe.
Active Brake Assist is yet another of many milestones with which Mercedes-Benz has driven development in the field of commercial vehicle safety onward as the innovative leader over the last few decades.
No commercial vehicle manufacturer worldwide invests more in the development of new support and safety systems, which save lives on a daily basis. The primary emphasis is always on active safety – preventing accidents from occurring in the first place, or alternatively developing systems which will intervene of their own accord to significantly mitigate the direct effects of an accident.
Significant reduction in fatal accidents
In this way Mercedes-Benz is reinforcing an already positive trend, as the number of truck-related accidents resulting in personal injury or death has been declining considerably for some years. The European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) reports that the number of fatalities in accidents involving trucks in Europe declined by one quarter between 1992 and 2004. Evaluations by the Federal Statistical Office in Germany and surveys conducted on an international basis identify rear-end collisions as the most typical type of accident involving trucks, especially on motorways and other trunk roads. The new Active Brake Assist system, as well as other driver support and safety systems, is designed to address this problem.
Extensive array of safety features
The Mercedes-Benz Safety Truck is equipped with numerous driver support and safety systems. The Lane Assistant, proximity and stability control, daytime driving lights, optimised exterior mirrors, the hill-holder, Brake Assist, the retarder and splash guards in the wheel arches – all these features have entered series production, and some of them are already standard equipment.
Not forgetting automatic climate control and auxiliary air conditioning, which improve driver-fitness safety. And should an accident occur despite all these preventive features, the driver is given the best possible protection by seats with integral seat belts, an airbag in conjunction with a belt tensioner and the robust, life-preserving construction of the cab. And not least, Mercedes-Benz has now developed rescue guidelines for use by the emergency services.
These contain detailed descriptions of procedures for rescuing a driver from the cab following a serious accident. In order to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place, Mercedes-Benz has also offered highly successful safety training courses for truck drivers for many years.
The safety technology of today is being developed today
The Mercedes-Benz Safety Truck and the new Active Brake Assist are by no means the end of development work for even better safety technology, however. There are already new support and safety systems in the offing which Mercedes-Benz will introduce in the coming years. All of them are expected to come on stream before the year 2010, helping to realise the EU goal of halving the number of traffic fatalities in Europe by that date.
A stability control system for truck/trailer combinations is undergoing trials, for example. In stop-and-go traffic and in densely populated areas, another system will give truck drivers effective support by automatically braking the vehicle to a stop when traffic tails back. A further development of the successful Lane Assistant already available as special equipment converts this passive system into an active one by adding active steering intervention.
In an even later stage, Active Brake Assist will also initiate emergency braking when vehicles ahead are stationary. And in the not too distant future, a parking aid with ultrasonic sensors at the front and rear will assist with slow-speed manoeuvres to prevent expensive and annoying vehicle damage. The Safety Truck of tomorrow is already well on the way to becoming reality.