The Mercedes-Benz GLE becomes the 2019 Experimental Safety Vehicle. The automaker has designed, crash-tested, then redesigned experimental safety vehicles for more than fifty years. The newest concept will be debut in June at the Experimental Safety Vehicle convention in Eindhoven, the Netherlands. This is the opportunity for Mercedes to show off futuristic ideas on top of options ready to go into production.
The GLE is a plug-in hybrid with Level 4 autonomous driving capability. In autonomous mode, the steering wheel and pedals retract into the body for crash protection. With the new cabin design, reconfiguration requires airbags to go into the instrument panel and seat side bolsters. Another subliminal safety feature, when the driver has the wheel, daylight-like light emanates from the sun visor to help the driver stay alert.
The Pre-Safe Child concepts offers enhanced child protection in the seating. The seat-belt is pre-tensioned, and side-mounted impact protection is extended before a crash. This allows for more leeway to reduce belt slack during the impact. The Pre-Safe Curve function tensions the driver’s seatbelt if the ESF 2019 senses the vehicle is approaching a curve too quickly. The only thing missing from encouraging drivers to wear seatbelts is a giant blinking arrow. The seatbelts have automatic belt feeders, belt buckle illumination, and heated seatbelts.
The idea of autonomous vehicles sharing the streets with human drivers is a bit overwhelming in its concept form. The ESF 2019 is making several efforts to communicate its intentions. Pre-Safe side lights with electro-luminescent paint raise visibility at night. Communication screens in the grille and rear window alert traffic to what the ESF 2019 plans to do. If there is an accident, a warning triangle emerges from the roof, and a small robot comes from the crossover’s rear to set up an illuminated warning triangle on the side of the road. This is the most exciting and Jetson-like feature to date.
The full-featured Active Brake Assist watches for pedestrians and cyclists moving in the same direction of the vehicle. If the ESF 2019 driver comes into the path of one of them, the vehicle will warn the driver, then autonomously brake if the driver doesn’t give into the warnings. New headlights called Digital Light provide high beam in HD quality and a resolution of more than 2 million pixels. Expect to see the Digital Light on the all-new S-Class due next year. The Mercedes-Benz’s Experimental Safety Vehicle will make its public debut at the Frankfurt Motor Show in September to show what the automotive future will look like.
Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz