TecDay Safety 2009: The ESF 2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle - PART XI


Stuttgart, Germany, Jun 10, 2009

This is how the photos with the assistants were made: "modern and a little space-like"

Mercedes-Benz illustrates the innovative safety systems of the Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2009 with female assistants who act as latter-day guardian angels.

A café-owner and amateur actress – in future Marika Müller will also be able to add "guardian angel" when asked about her profession and hobbies. This is because the 42 year-old was the model for the photos of the assistants with which the many safety innovations of the ESF 2009 are explained. "The brief was very clear: we were looking for a Lena Odenthal without curly hair", photographer Harry Ruckaberle remembers. "We wanted a woman as a model who had a certain masculine touch like the criminal investigator in the 'Tatort' TV series, so that she could credibly fill the role of a guardian angel."

Good detective work: Müller has frequently been taken for the Odenthal actress Folkerts. And she even drives a Mercedes: an old Tailfin, by chance the very same model that stands opposite the ESF2009 on one of the photos to illustrate the progress made in the safety sector. 50 years ago, according to the photo story, five assistants protected the occupants of the W111 – in this case the young men stood for pioneering Mercedes achievements like the rigid safety passenger cell with energy-absorbing crumple zones at the front and rear, a steering wheel with a padded boss and elimination of sharp edges in the interior, three-point seat belts, conical-pin door locks with two safety catches and disc brakes. Today there are no less than 29 assistants for the ESF 2009 who help to prevent accidents and mitigate their effects.

Not only has equal opportunity become the norm in the 'assistant' sector – the outfit has also changed. Instead of formal evening clothes, today's guardian angel wears a futuristic, silvery combination of a blouson and slacks. "We wanted the outfit to look modern and a little space-like", says photographer Ruckaberle. "What's more, the silver colour goes well with the ESF2009 and has something future-oriented about it." With a silvery shimmer to the skin, the make-up reflects the colouring of the clothing. All in all, the guardian angels appear "as if from another world" (Ruckaberle) – a fitting accompaniment to the discipline of Real Life Safety for tomorrow…

The major innovations are clearly illustrated by dramatic individual photos featuring the appropriate assistant. In the case of PRE-SAFE Pulse, for example, the guardian angel grabs the shoulders of the driver from the rear seat and moves him out of the danger zone when a side collision is imminent – in reality this is done by the inflatable side bolster of the seat. The Spotlight function of the LED headlamps is illustrated with an assistant holding a torch, with which she lights up a pedestrian emerging from the darkness of the roadside. And the warning function of the Interactive Vehicle Communication system is symbolised by a guardian angel which obtains information via a headset and warns the driver by means of a graphic display.
The aim of these unusual photos is to explain the sometimes complex technical interaction between the vehicle functions clearly and rapidly even to viewers with very little technical knowledge.

The photos were taken at the DEBEOS studios in Sindelfingen, using a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark III. The lens was a Canon Zoom 24mm – 70mm. With an aperture between F 20 and F 22, the exposure time was between 1/13 of a second (PRE‑SAFEPulse) and ten seconds (Spotlight). The images were processed on a Macintosh with Adobe Photoshop CS4.

This is how the ESF 2009 was created: 13 innovations, 1 team

The ESF 2009 is the first Experimental Safety Vehicle Mercedes-Benz has built since 1974. Like its historic predecessors, it attractively combines trailblazing innovations in the field of safety and makes the progress achieved visible. Integrating all the ideas and implementing them for a clear appreciation was an extraordinary challenge for the team in the test vehicle workshops.

The go-ahead for the ESF was given in October 2008, and the decision was received with great enthusiasm in the test workshop: "Making safety visible – I was quickly able to assemble a highly qualified team for this interesting project", says Axel Wittig, the team leader for the entire workshop facility. "The complexity of this assignment was a welcome challenge, as we not only had to integrate the numerous innovations into an S 400 HYBRID, but also make them fully functioning in demonstration mode and provide a look behind the technical scenes by incorporating eight inspection windows in the bonnet, bumpers and doors."

The core workshop team for the ESF 2009, headed by coordinator and facilitator Hans Peter Hiller, consisted of three model-builders and two electricians. The team was supported by Jürgen Arnold, who took care of the electrical engineering, and designer Matthias Rissmann, who e.g. prepared the body apertures for the inspection windows. It was only possible to keep to the ambitious time-plan because countless internal (from the upholstery specialists in Design to production engineering) and external suppliers gave rapid and unbureaucratic assistance. "The great enthusiasm for the core Mercedes expertise of safety could be felt at all times", project manager Michael Fehring remembers: "The 'Daimler spirit' ensured rapid decisions without time-consuming consultation processes." Sheer fascination for technology also played an important part. The chance to take a look into a radar sensor, which is normally only supplied as a 'black box' but was in this case integrated into the front bumper in a cutaway state, attracted many an engineer who was not involved in the project into the workshop bay for the ESF 2009.

The complexity of this project, which involved the integration of 13 safety innovations into the hybrid version of the S-Class that only existed as a prototype when the work started, is already shown by the fact that a completely new wiring harness had to be designed and produced. At the heart of the demonstration technology is a divided compressed air tank in the boot, with a compressor and external power supply, which provides the airbags and the air chambers for PRE-SAFE Pulse and Interseat Protection with air. The finishing touch for the ESF 2009 is a central remote control system for all the functioning demonstrations.

The result of all this work was two experimental vehicles in the special ESF paint finish, which includes black-painted chrome trim and reflective strips on the door seals and tyres: the actual ESF 2009 and its externally identical brother, which can be used for driving and photographic purposes.

PRE-SAFE Demonstrator: a realistic PRE-SAFE® experience

The preventive occupant protection system PRE-SAFE® activates a number of safety systems if an accident appears to be unavoidable. Fortunately, many drivers never find themselves in a situation where they can experience PRE-SAFE® for themselves. A realistic impression of these safety systems is provided by an innovative PRE-SAFE Demonstrator, which will have its world premiere at the 21st ESV Conference in Stuttgart on 15 June.

For the first time for this purpose, the simulator uses a linear motor to accelerate the vehicle cabin to up to 16 km/h within a distance of four metres. This corresponds to an acceleration of two g, i.e. twice freefall speed. After around 1.2 seconds the cabin impacts the specially designed hydraulic shock absorbers. In the interim the occupants not only experience the effects of the PRE-SAFE® functions at first hand, e.g. belt pretensioning, NECK-PRO and the inflatable side bolsters on the seats, but also the restraining effect of the seat belts during the impact.

The linear drive of the PRE-SAFE Demonstrator, which is similar to that of the Transrapid train system, has a power consumption of 10 kW, is freely programmable and also works in the opposite direction. This enables various acceleration profiles, and also a rear-end collision, to be demonstrated. The cabin can also be rotated by 30 degrees on its sledge to simulate an oblique impact. If the cabin is rotated by 90 degrees, the drive system can be programmed a produce to-and-fro motion that gives the impression of taking corners at high speed.

The moving mass of the Demonstrator is 500 kg. This includes the cabin, which was created from a real S-Class saloon whose front passenger seat, dashboard and door were adopted. To keep the Demonstrator compact in size, the driver's side, engine compartment and the body section to the rear of the B-pillar were removed. Specially designed plastic components close off the cabin at these points. The Demonstrator weighs a total of around 2.5 tonnes, and is designed to be easily loaded onto a vehicle by fork-lift truck. Easy transport is also facilitated by the double electrical interfaces directly on the Demonstrator and at the control console. The unit has hydraulically extendable rollers to allow precise placement at the destination.

The PRE-SAFE Demonstrator was developed and designed on behalf of the
Mercedes accident research department by the prototype production function of MB-technology GmbH. The MBtech Group is a globally operating automotive engineering and consulting business within the Daimler group. Project manager Markus Pscheidt recalls: "This commission was a very special challenge, for as far as we were aware, a linear drive system had never been used for automotive purposes. To ensure the safety of the cabin's occupants under all circumstances, we had to design many of the features ourselves in close consultation with the TÜV safety inspectorate."

Copyright © 2009, Mercedes-Benz-Blog. All rights reserved.

Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply


Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by LiteThemes.com.