- The ESF 2019 is loaded with experimental safety tech and gets a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
- It is based on the 2019 GLE and gets autonomous capabilities.
- New safety ideas mainly based on three key focus areas.
- Some of these might make it to production models in the future.
Mercedes-Benz has unveiled an all new Experimental Safety Vehicle called the ESF 2019. Based on the 2019 GLE SUV with a plug-in hybrid powertrain, the experimental vehicle is a testament to the strides Mercedes has made in the field of automotive safety. Loaded with a plethora of safety tech onboard, the ESF 2019 also highlights three key focus areas for the German carmaker in terms of the future of automotive safety:
1) Autonomous Driving:
The ESF 2019 gets a set of new pedals and steering wheel which retract while the vehicle is on autopilot. This helps liberate more room for the driver and also retract in case of a crash. It also gets additional restraint features and new airbags which are placed at alternative places for more safety and additional protection. The ESF 2019 gets a new ‘PRE-SAFE’ function for example on the child seat. Once your child is buckled up, you can monitor his or her activities through a live camera which is streamed on the infotainment system.
2) Alerting Other Road Users:
This by far is the most unique safety feature on the ESF 2019. It alerts other road users that you’re in an automated vehicle, by communicating to the road users regarding the traffic ahead and the action it’s going to take. Based on it, a warning symbol is projected on its rear windshield so that other road users can react accordingly. For example, if the ESF 2019 needs to stop due to an obstruction ahead, the SUV projects a warning sign to alert others. In case it comes to a halt completely, a reflective warning sign pops up on the roof and a unique alert bot which emerges from below and travels a few metres to warn others that the SUV has halted in the middle of the road. Cool, isn’t it?
3) Innovations for Manual Driving
The 2019 ESF also has safety features while piloting the SUV manually. Apart from the additional safety restraints and airbags, the ESF 2019 uses daylight-like artificial illumination in the cabin to keep the driver alert at all times. It also has a dazzle-free high beam so that it doesn’t stress other road users, especially during highway driving at night.
Mercedes-Benz says that these innovations are a result of the case studies from past accidents. The ESF 2019’s predecessor was the ESF 2009, which was a Mercedes S Class. Numerous features from the 2009 ESF like the belt bag for the S-Class, Impulse Side for the E-Class, CLS and GLE and Active High Beam Assist Plus have made it to mainstream production. Based on the past, the carmaker might introduce the safety features from the ESF 2019 in the latest production models.
Mercedes will soon showcase these future safety ideas and the ESF 2019 at the Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) convention in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, next month. What do you think of these experimental safety ideas? Let us know in the comments section below.
For in-depth, objective and more importantly balanced journalism, Click here to subscribe to Outlook Magazine