Mercedes-Benz says it wants to achieve accident-free driving with all its cars by 2025.
It's calling this mission "Vision Zero", and the plan includes greatly reducing death and serious injuries in car accidents by 2030.
Mercedes has pioneered active and passive safety systems such as electronic stability control and anticipatory technology called Pre-Safe.
Mercedes-Benz wants to put an end to accidents involving its cars by 2050. Obviously, that sounds ambitious, even if it's a long way in the future. Still, the German automaker today announced plans to achieve just that, calling its mission "Vision Zero" and saying it aims to have zero traffic deaths by this century's halfway point. The company also hopes to reduce the number of people who are killed or seriously injured in a car accidents by cutting the 2020 numbers in half by 2030.
So, how will Mercedes go about reducing and eventually ending accidents involving its cars? Well, Paul Dick, head of vehicle safety at the company, said in a press release "highly automated and autonomous driving will be a decisive contributor." Of course, there are a lot more contributing factors than simply a vehicle's safety features. Acknowledging this and the importance of infrastructure, Mercedes says federal governments and world organizations as well as urban planners and local road commissions will all have to work together. Did we mention that this plan is ambitious?
A History of Safety
Mercedes-Benz isn't as synonymous with safety as a brand like Volvo. However, it has pioneered cutting-edge active and passive safety systems in its vehicles for decades. Back in the late '90s, after a "moose test"went wrong, Mercedes began equipping every model with standard electronic stability control, which proliferated across the industry. Then, in the early aughts, the company introduced an anticipatory protection system called Pre-Safe, leading to features that helped reduce personal injury during a crash.
Mercedes also has a long history of utilizing advanced brake control systems. The milestones include the implementation of ant-lock brakes back in 1978 and adding traction control in '85. The company also brought a brake-assist feature to market in 1996, which automatically detected an emergency situation and supplied max braking power. A couple of years later, it debuted adaptive cruise control called Distronic. Mercedes models started adding automated emergency braking in 2009, and the brand plans to release new central software in 2023 that's intended to further improve the responsiveness of its control system.
The Road to an Accident-Free Future
With an accident-free future set as the destination and an ETA of 2050, Mercedes-Benz has its work cut out for it. There are a couple of things it's already working on to try and reduce accidents and save lives.
For one, the company says it has been evaluating real-world accidents since 1969 and will continue to do so. By better understanding the anatomy of crashes and how they could've been prevented, Mercedes can work on developing new safety technology to combat accidents. More recently, the company has been analyzing vehicle data to identify potential risk factors and even alert drivers of hazards before they encounter them.
The road to an accident-free future is long and not fully paved yet for Mercedes. However, it has shown a commitment to innovative safety features and sounds committed to its mission, which truthfully got its start decades ago. We'll just have to wait a few more decades to see if getting into an accident in a Mercedes is still possible or impossible.
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