Trend-setting safety: Airbags, restraint systems and pedestrian protection

Feb 8, 2013
Innovative driver assistance systems, preventive protective measures,
a stress-resistant body structure and highly effective restraint systems make the
E-Class one of the safest vehicles in its segment. 
The basis for this is the integrated safety concept from Mercedes-Benz, which combines all elements of active and passive safety in a well-thought-out system – providing protection to the vehicle occupants and other road users. The integrated safety concept meets, to an unprecedented extent, the requirements for a high degree of vehicle and road safety, and is oriented towards real-world accidents.  
PRE-SAFE® PLUS: occupant protection in an impending rear-end collision  
Mercedes-Benz has extended the well-known PRE-SAFE® preventive occupant protection system to cover dangerous situations caused by traffic following behind.  
A radar sensor in the rear bumper monitors the traffic behind the vehicle and can detect an impending rear-end collision. The system alerts the driver of the vehicle behind to a dangerous situation by quickly flashing the rear hazard lights (not for the USA and Canada). In addition, it triggers the preventive PRE-SAFE® occupant protection measures, which include reversible belt tensioners and active NECK-PRO® head restraints.  
If the vehicle is stationary, PRE-SAFE® PLUS will keep it firmly braked, thus reducing any forward jolt. This can greatly reduce the strain placed on the occupants and the risk of whiplash injuries, for example. Firmly applying the vehicle's brakes can help to prevent secondary accidents too, such as running into a vehicle in front, for example, or colliding with pedestrians or other road users at junctions.
State-of-the-art restraint systems 
In the event of an accident, the best possible protection is provided by the restraint systems, the comprehensive deployment of airbags and the structural safety of the body. An innovative sensor system triggers the safety systems depending on the situation and coordinates them all with each other.  
Restraint systems are the backbone of passive safety.  
  • 3-point seat belts for driver and front passenger with electronic, reversible belt tensioners in the PRE-SAFE® phase and pyrotechnic belt tensioners in the event of an accident as well as belt force limiters.
  • 3-point seat belts on the outer seats in the rear with pyrotechnic belt tensioners, belt force limiters for all rear seats and rear belt status display in the instrument cluster. Making up part of the optionally available Rear Seat Safety package are 3-point seat belts with self-adaptive belt force limiters on the outer rear seats, which are able to adjust the belt force for small passengers and children in particular.
  • NECK-PRO head restraints for driver and front passenger which provide early support for the head in the event of a rear-end collision and as such are able to reduce the risk of whiplash.
  • ISOFIX child seat anchor points on the outer rear seats for the safe attachment of appropriate child seats with additional respective anchor point above on the rear seat backrest. 
Also fitted on board the E-Class is an elaborate system of airbags:  
  • adaptive airbags for driver and front passenger with multistage deployment, depending on the detected severity of the impact
  • sidebags for driver and front passenger, which are able to provide additional protection in the event of a side impact
  • pelvisbags for driver and front passenger, which are able to protect the pelvic area in the event of a side impact
  • windowbags between the A, B and C-pillars, to protect the head area of the driver, front passenger and passengers seated on the outer rear seats
  • kneebags, which in specific types of impact can protect the driver in the area of the dashboard which comes into contact with the knees, and also stabilise the entire upper body by positively influencing occupant movement in the event of an impact
  • sidebags in the rear provide additional protection for passengers on the outer rear seats; they are part of the Rear Seat Safety package which is available as an optional extra 
Also making a contribution to safety is automatic child seat recognition (ACSR). It can deactivate the airbag on the front passenger side when a child seat with a corresponding transponder is fitted. 
Consistent pedestrian protection  
The E-Class also plays an exemplary role when it comes to pedestrian protection. The following measures are implemented for pedestrian protection:  
  • active bonnet, which is moved upwards by 50 mm when an impact is detected, thus creating additional deformation space during the impact; the system is reversible and can be reset by the driver, without having to visit the workshop, to enable him to continue driving
  • BAS PLUS warns when pedestrians are detected in the danger zone by the Stereo Multi-Purpose Camera. The PRE-SAFE® Brake with pedestrian protection triggers autonomous braking when the system detects a pedestrian in the danger zone and the driver is not reacting to the system's warnings. This pedestrian detection, in conjunction with the optionally available Driver Assistance package Plus, represents a milestone in preventing accidents with pedestrians and/or reducing their consequences.