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.September 24, 2003
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PRE-SAFE development team nominated for the German Future Prize

Stuttgart - A team of engineers from Mercedes-Benz has been nominated for the German Future Prize 2003 in recognition of the development work they carried out on the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system which received its world premiere in the S-Class. The nomination was announced in Berlin by Rüdiger Frohn, Head of the Federal President's Offices. The German Future Prize is awarded to people who have set a particularly distinguished example in the field of scientific and technical advancement.

The Mercedes engineers nominated for the Future Prize 2003, Dr. Thomas Breitling and Dr. Rodolfo Schöneburg, were responsible for the design of the PRE-SAFE anticipatory occupant protection system. The system, which makes up part of the standard specification on the S-Class, is the end result of some six years of intensive development and testing work.


With PRE-SAFE, the car develops "reflexes" for the first time. In the same way as all living things react instinctively to a sudden threat of danger and seek to protect themselves, the revolutionary safety technology aboard the S-Class deploys a series of special systems whenever it detects that an accident is imminent in order to prepare both the car and its occupants for any possible collision. This system of preventative occupant protection has seen Mercedes-Benz usher in a new era of passenger car safety.

The anticipatory measures for protecting occupants include, for example, rapidly pulling the front seat belts taut so that the driver and front passenger are seated in a position which maximises the protective effect of the airbags even before the impact takes place.

If necessary, PRE-SAFE adjusts the settings of the front passenger seat and of the electrically adjustable individual seats in the rear, as well as closing the sunroof should the vehicle enter a skid.

To enable it to detect an imminent collision in advance, PRE-SAFE makes use of the sensors which are fitted to the vehicle for the Brake Assist system and for the ESP? Electronic Stability Program.

This revolutionary safety concept is based on the findings of Mercedes accident research which show that in around two thirds of all traffic accidents, a relatively long period of time elapses between the moment when the threat of collision is detected and the actual impact. Mercedes-Benz will in future be seeking to use this time for triggering precautionary protective measures designed to further reduce the risk of injury to the vehicle's occupants.

(Sep 23, 2003)

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