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Mercedes showcases safety features of the future

Mercedes has showcased futuristic safety features that could one day be commonplace on mainstream cars.

The car maker has created its first Experimental Safety Vehicle since 1974 - the ESF 2009, based on an S400 Hybrid - which features over a dozen safety innovations, most of which are fully functioning.

One of the most interesting systems is an auxiliary brake fitted into the floor of the car. The braking bag inflates when the car senses an imminent crash, creating friction and increasing deceleration. It also lifts the font of the car by up to 80mm, compensating for dive.

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Mercedes engineers have also developed “inflatable metal structures”, which save space and increase crash protection.

Existing features such as side impact bars could be inflated by pressures of between 10 and 20 bar, saving weight when they are deflated and allowing for other safety measures to be fitted in the saved space.

Inside the car, special seat bolsters are designed to move the occupants up to 50mm into the centre of the cabin if the vehicle detects that a side impact is imminent.

Other safety features include reflective tyres, full emergency braking and an airbag fitted into the seatbelt.

Ulrich Mellinhoff, Head of Mercedes safety development, said the development were “about more than scoring points in standardised crash tests, or the number of on board airbags”.

“The ESF2009 clearly illustrates the comprehensive approach of Mercedes-Benz with its numerous innovations for more passive and active safety,” he added.

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