June 19, 2007

Mercedes-Benz developing cars that can ‘see’ and ‘think’

Friedrichshafen, Germany – Mercedes-Benz is laying the groundwork for a new, forward-looking safety concept that will focus more strongly on anticipatory recognition and the prevention of accidents. New features will include intelligent driver assistance systems that utilize stereo cameras and radar sensors to monitor the area surrounding the vehicle. These systems will have the ability to make predictive interpretations of critical driving situations and then issue timely warnings to drivers – or even intervene autonomously if there is imminent danger.

“Several years ago, we introduced Pre-Safe, which gave the vehicle certain ‘reflexes,’ so to speak,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, DaimlerChrysler Board of Management member responsible for Group Research and Mercedes Car Group Development. “In the future, we will also give cars the ability to ‘see’ and ‘think.’ It’s always been a matter of policy for us to develop vehicles capable of withstanding the most severe crash tests. However, it makes much more sense to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place – which is exactly what we’re working on in the interest of all traffic participants.”

In the future, Mercedes-Benz will continue to base the development of its safety systems on real-life accident statistics and data from its own accident research activities. The focus here will be on intersections, sharp curves, and construction sites, as these locations are the site of approximately one-third of all serious accidents that occur in Germany.

Other issues to be addressed in the development of new driver assistance systems include driver fatigue, speed, and lane departure, all of which are also among the most frequent causes of accidents. Mercedes-Benz will also further improve occupant protection through preventive measures and by networking active and passive safety systems.

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