Mercedes Benz ESF 2009 Prototype Experimental Safety Vehicle
Last week, TheCarConnection mentioned some of the high-tech safety features of the Mercedes-Benz ESF 2009 S400 Hybrid experimental safety vehicle. But in addition to the PRE-SAFE crash detection system and the car's intriguing "inflatable metal" structure, there's also a full range of bags and bolsters to protect passengers in the event of a crash. Among the more interesting ones highlighted in the video below: the ESF's "braking bag".
The braking bag is exactly what it sounds like: a specially designed airbag that lives on the underside of the vehicle and deploys when the PRE-SAFE system determines that a collision is imminent. Located just forward of the front axle, the braking bag serves a couple of important functions--namely:
-providing friction to slow the vehicle even further;
-stabilizing the vehicle by providing more contact with the road;
-minimizing the car's "dive" as it brakes, which, in Daimler's words, "improves geometrical compatibility with the other party in an accident." (In other words, you'll take a hit on par with the other vehicle, and you won't wedge under, both of which can minimize injury to you and your car.)
According to Daimler, it'll be a while before the braking bag becomes available to the public, but from what we've seen in the video it's pretty promising technology indeed.