Visionaries – Safety and the Environment.
In the development of new models, Mercedes-Benz engineers have by tradition accorded high priority to safety and the environment at all times. After the invention of the automobile in 1886, it was initially a question of giving the new means of transport operational reliability and easy handling. Once the motorized vehicle had established itself as a reliable means of transport, the engineers and technicians were able to devote themselves to new development fields which had been given little attention before. Among other things, this included the improvement of active and passive safety. Mercedes-Benz has always played a pioneering role in this field as well, thereby positively influencing automotive development throughout the world.
A crucial era in this respect was the 1960s and 1970s. Men like the ingenious Mercedes-Benz design engineer Béla Barényi contributed substantially to the enhancement of safety with the development of the passenger safety cell. Other milestones were the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and the airbag. The researchers and developers at Mercedes-Benz have also been pioneers in the systematic development of environmental compatibility for decades. In research into alternative propulsion technologies, they frequently broke new ground and set up fully operational prototypes with electric, natural-gas and alcohol drive systems as early as the 1960s and 1970s. Even the gas turbine and hybrid drive were tested at the time. The reduction of exhaust gas emissions had been an issue even before the introduction of the closedloop catalytic converter in the 1980s. Mercedes-Benz had engaged in systematic development work in the field of emission control as early as the late 1960s.