The latest safety device from Mercedes Benz is an underfloor airbag deployed by a new development of the PRE-SAFE system.
Another safety innovation that could one day appear on production models are Merc’s PRE-SAFE structural elements. These are concealed metallic structures that wait in a collapsed space-saving state until your car determines you are approaching an accident. At that point explosive charges similar to airbag actuators release gas into the structures – which Mercedes compare to inflatable mattresses – to unfold the metal sections and provide greater structural stability.
One of the major unresolved problems of these folded metal ‘airbags’ is that, once they’ve been fired, your car will be rather more deformed than it might otherwise have been the case – and unlike regular airbags they can’t be simply replaced.
‘These crash-responsive metal structures are therefore still a thing of the future – but the same was also once true of standard safety features like the airbag, ABS or ESP’, the company says.
The new ESF2009 concept car is being officially revealed at a safety conference in Stuttgart this week.