Key component of Daimler DNA
The good news is: something can in fact be done. And we are doing it – here at Daimler, for example. The vision of accident-free driving is a key component of Daimler DNA, and this holds true not only for trucks but also for cars, vans, and buses. The company has been a leader for decades in developing safety and assistance systems, and these systems are constantly being further developed and improved. Daimler has been conducting its own accident research for more than 50 years, and since the early 1970s, Daimler's commercial vehicle accident research has been analysing accidents involving Mercedes-Benz trucks throughout Germany in order to extract active and passive safety measures from this data. “We consider our detailed studies indispensable for assessing vehicle behaviour in an actual accident,” said Kay Morschheuser, Head of Commercial Vehicle Accident Analyses at Mercedes-Benz Trucks. This is the only way to continuously incorporate additional improvements into the vehicle. This is why the accident experts also look for abnormalities: Is a certain type of accident especially common? Is it possible to discern certain patterns? Are there typical injuries among the people involved in the accident? And this is precisely where the idea for the Sideguard Assist originated a few years ago.
This system is of course just one of many examples of the pioneering role played by Mercedes-Benz Trucks. Almost all truck safety systems in use today were first found in a Mercedes-Benz commercial vehicle. Many of these have not only established themselves on the market but are now in fact mandatory for new registrations in the EU. The focus in the 1970s was exclusively on passive safety systems like cab structure, restraint systems, front and rear underrun protection and side protection, but the vision has broadened over time – along with developments in vehicle technology – to include active and integrated safety systems. These systems can not only reduce the consequences of accidents but ideally can prevent a crash from happening in the first place. These systems include the ABS antilock braking system, the EBS electronic braking system and the ESP electronic stability program, as well as assistance systems including proximity assist and lane keeping assist, active drive assist, which enables semi-automated driving, and the ABA active brake assist for emergency braking, which is now available in its fifth stage of development.