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The car as a partner.

You are driving on a road with a slippery surface. Suddenly, there is an unexpected obstacle. Slam on the brakes, fast! Thanks to the ABS anti-lock braking system, the vehicle remains steerable and the driver takes controlled evasive action.

ABS is regarded as an important milestone in active safety and at the same time as the origin of assistance systems. Mercedes-Benz initially set the ball rolling in 1978 with the S-Class of the 116 model series. Soon after that, all passenger car model series made by the brand followed. Other manufacturers took up ABS and it became the industry benchmark. Since then, Mercedes-Benz has always been a pioneer in the development of driving safety systems. Active safety includes driving safety, driver-fitness safety, and operating safety. That is the definition that is still valid today. 

Intelligent Drive, on the road, worldwide. Mercedes-Benz used the Intelligent World Drive project to test automated driving functions on five continents.

Intelligent Drive, on the road, worldwide. Mercedes-Benz used the Intelligent World Drive project to test automated driving functions on five continents.

Forward-looking: the control unit for the second-generation ABS digital anti-lock braking system, jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch and introduced in 1978.

Forward-looking: the control unit for the second-generation ABS digital anti-lock braking system, jointly developed by Mercedes-Benz and Bosch and introduced in 1978.

Active safety goes digital.

Mercedes-Benz made this definition in the mid-1960s. Active safety means: in critical situations, the car intervenes in the driving process using its built-in assistance modules in order to reduce the risk of accidents or mitigate the consequences. Numerous intuitive, intelligent technologies work hand-in-glove today in the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive concept.

Mercedes-Benz broke new ground with its ABS anti-lock braking system. The first design launched in 1970 still employed analogue electronics. However, this was not reliable or fast enough for series production, so the engineers opted for digital controls and sensors and rebuilt the entire system. That produced the hoped-for breakthrough – and an absolutely future-orientated solution. 

Indispensable assistants.

Digital ABS signals formed the basis for the next developments, because they were also used by other on-board assistance systems. These included acceleration skid control ASR, automatic locking differential ASD, electronic stability programme ESP® and many more. 

Ensuring perfect traction, even on snow and icy roads: in addition to the ASR and ASD systems, the Mercedes-Benz 4MATIC four-wheel drive for rapid engagement and disengagement was introduced in 1985. 

The second 4MATIC generation followed in 1997 as a permanent four-wheel drive.

Throughout the 1990s, a range of pioneering solutions were premiered and these became the technological standard for the entire industry. The Electronic Stability Programme ESP® stood out as one of them.

It was first applied in 1995 to the S-Class Coupé, model series 140. Starting in 1999, Mercedes-Benz consistently equipped all its passenger cars with ESP as standard.

Best possible deceleration: demonstration of the BAS Brake Assist using a Mercedes-Benz SL 500 of the R 129 model series.

Best possible deceleration: demonstration of the BAS Brake Assist using a Mercedes-Benz SL 500 of the R 129 model series.

Intelligent support.

In critical driving situations, ESP® brakes one or more of the wheels in a targeted manner. To enable this to work, several sensors monitor the current driving status by continuously measuring the steering angle, lateral acceleration and yaw rate. The digital CAN bus (Controller Area Network) ensures fast data exchange. 

The BAS Brake Assist was also debuted in this period. Introduced in 1996 in the SL R 129 model series, the system detects emergency braking and immediately provides maximum braking assistance.

The eyes have it.

Would it not be a good idea if the car always kept an eye on the traffic in front of it? In 1998, Mercedes-Benz provided the ground-breaking answer when it launched its DISTRONIC distance control system. It celebrated its world premiere in the S-Class of the 220 model series. 

The system uses radar to continuously monitor traffic and calculates the distance to the vehicle in front as well as its speed. When cruise control is activated, driving commands for deceleration or acceleration are derived from this in order to maintain a safe distance at all times.

The car’s eyes: radar sensor of a DISTRONIC distance control system in a Mercedes-Benz CLK model series 209.

The car’s eyes: radar sensor of a DISTRONIC distance control system in a Mercedes-Benz CLK model series 209.

Active suspension: front wheel suspension with Active Body Control ABC suspension system on a Mercedes-Benz CL of the C 215 model series, illustration from 1999.

Active suspension: front wheel suspension with Active Body Control ABC suspension system on a Mercedes-Benz CL of the C 215 model series, illustration from 1999.

Active safety systems expand.

A driving feeling as if you are floating: the ABC Active Body Control is a source of inspiration. The active chassis system developed by Mercedes-Benz minimises pitching and rolling of the body, increases safety reserves and reduces fatigue of the driver. ABC was launched in 1999 in the C 215 model series premium range coupé for series car production.

As high-performing as intuitive.

Active safety also includes many assistance systems that make driving and controlling the vehicle easier and safer. Mercedes-Benz was early to lead the way here with the PARKTRONIC parking assistant and the APS Auto Pilot System digital navigation system (both in 1995) as well as SBS voice control (1996; the system has been called Linguatronic since 1997).

As an interface between man and machine that was as high-performing as it was intuitive, Mercedes-Benz COMAND (Cockpit Management and Data System) premiered in 1998. In 2018, the MBUX Mercedes-Benz User Experience followed. The completely new multimedia system is teachable thanks to artificial intelligence and creates an emotional connection between the vehicle, driver and passengers.

The PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class of the W 211 model series.

The PRE-SAFE® anticipatory occupant protection system in the Mercedes-Benz E-Class of the W 211 model series.

A holistic safety concept.

Increasingly efficient, increasingly diverse – and increasingly capable of networked interaction: this is what distinguishes the active safety systems in Mercedes-Benz cars in the new millennium. Since these active safety systems were becoming increasingly interlinked with secondary safety systems, the Mercedes-Benz brand began, in 1999, to group its systems under the umbrella term “Integrated Safety”.

As early as 2002, key components of the philosophy were incorporated in the PRE-SAFE® system for anticipatory occupant protection. In this environment, the smart vehicle recognises signs that are typical for an impending accident via its sensors and prepares itself for this as well as it can in order to minimise the effects of the potential crash.

Milestones of this time.

Other milestones of these developments included adaptive brake lights and the BAS PLUS Brake Assist (2005), PRE-SAFE® Brake and Intelligent Light System (both in 2006), Blind Spot Assist (2007), Active Parking Assist (2009), ATTENTION ASSIST, Adaptive Highbeam Assist, Lane Keeping Assist (all in 2009), Active Blind Spot Assist, and Active Lane Keeping Assist (both in 2010). Mercedes-Benz introduced these solutions into series production as components of a harmonious ensemble.

On the path to fully autonomous driving, a test vehicle based on the S-Class gathered experience for automated driving functions on all five continents.

S 450 4MATIC: Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert: 8,3–8,1 l/100 km; CO2-Emissionen kombiniert: 189–184 g/km.1

In 2013, the Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE successfully travelled from Mannheim to Pforzheim, with the help of sophisticated sensors, control systems and software.

In 2013, the Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE successfully travelled from Mannheim to Pforzheim, with the help of sophisticated sensors, control systems and software.   

Safe driving into the future.

In the 2010s, the future of vehicle safety was given a new name – Intelligent Drive. The Mercedes-Benz S 500 INTELLIGENT DRIVE research vehicle showed in 2013 what the future of automated driving could look like in very complex traffic conditions, particularly in cities and on country roads.

In 2017 and 2018, the Mercedes-Benz Intelligent World Drive tied into this. A test vehicle based on the latest S-Class learned across all five continents in real traffic during automated test drives. 

Comprehensive support.

Since 2013, Intelligent Drive was also the name given to the new Mercedes-Benz philosophy for networking all in-car driver assistance and safety systems. In 2017, the brand presented the next level of system integration under the heading “Intelligent Drive Next Level”. In this way, comprehensive driver support took the next steps towards the future of active safety.

Hands-free: the Active Lane Change Assist provides assistance when steering to the adjacent lane. This is another feature of Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive.

Hands-free: the Active Lane Change Assist provides assistance when steering to the adjacent lane. This is another feature of Mercedes-Benz Intelligent Drive.

Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

Product may vary after press date on 11.07.2019.

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.

6 Stromverbrauch und Reichweite wurden auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Stromverbrauch und Reichweite sind abhängig von der Fahrzeugkonfiguration. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.