SMART SAFETY: Mercedes-Benz' radar-based safety system found in the B-Class has significantly reduced collisions, according to crash researchers. Image: Newspress
STUTTGART, Germany - The new Mercedes B-Class, just presented to international journalists, comes with Collision Prevention Assist+ which, crash researchers at Mercedes-Benz anticipate, could reduce the number of serious rear-end collisions by as much as 30% over vehicles without the system.
For that prognosis safety experts used figures from Germany's Federal Statistical Office to assess how effective the standard-fit system has been in the B-Class to date and simulated digital crash data.
The official figures show that the number of serious rear-end collisions involving B-Class vehicles has gone down by 14% in Germany by comparison with the previous model. Since its market launch in 2011, the present B-Class has been equipped with CPA as standard.
The new B-Class, which is available from dealers from November 29 2014 in the UK and during the first quarter of 2015 in South Africa, comes with Collision Prevention Assist+ as standard.
The safety system includes a radar-based, visual-distance warning signal, an additional audible collision warning and selective brake boosting. It is standard on all Mercedes new-generation compact cars (A and B-Class, CLA and GLA), as well as many other vehicles from Mercedes-Benz.
Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for group research and Mercedes-Benz cars development, Thomas Weber, said: "The decrease in the number of crashes provides further confirmation of our 'real life safety' strategy. We are bringing innovations into the car that genuinely benefit customers and road safety."
This is substantiated by figures from Mercedes-Benz service outlets: by comparison with the previous model, the present B-Class has experienced much less serious damage to the front end when the front cross member needed to be replaced. The severity of many rear-end collisions was therefore reduced, and in some cases they were avoided entirely.
In a study, Mercedes-Benz crash researchers came to the conclusion that up to 20% of all serious rear-end collisions in Germany could be prevented if all vehicles were fitted with an equivalent safety system. Their claim is based on a simulation study using a pre-crash matrix – a digital crash database from the Traffic Accident Research Institute in Dresden containing thousands of carefully reconstructed, real-life accidents. As part of this study, vehicles were equipped virtually with Collision Prevention Assist and its effects on each rear-end collision were examined.
For the enhanced successor system, Collision Prevention Assist+, which is set to be rolled out across all model series, the accident researchers are forecasting up to 30% fewer serious rear-end collisions than without the system.
The system extends the functionality of Collision Prevention Assist with the addition of autonomous braking to reduce the risk of rear-end collisions. If the driver fails to act when a risk of collision is detected, despite the warning lamp in the instrument cluster and the intermittent audible alert, the system will automatically trigger braking. The vehicle speed is thus already significantly reduced.
The automaker says, depending on the relative speed, this intervention may be enough to avoid a rear-end collision with vehicles that are driving more slowly, stopping or stationary, or significantly mitigate its severity.