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Merc says road safety awareness key to reducing accidents
31-10-2015 | http://www.autocarindia.com/auto-news/merc-says-road-safety-awareness-key-to-reducing-accidents-398431.aspx

The increasing rate of accidents in India and ensuing death rate can be greatly reduced by creating more awareness on road safety apart from usage of innovative safety technologies, according to officials from the Development Safety arm of German carmaker Mercedes-Benz.The increasing rate of accidents in India and ensuing death rate can be greatly reduced by creating more awareness on road safety apart from usage of innovative safety technologies, according to officials from the Development Safety arm of German carmaker Mercedes-Benz. 

“The number people killed on the roads in Germany has fallen from around 21,000 in the 1970s to around 3,300 in 2014. The number of fatalities on the streets has dramatically decreased even though we have twice the number of vehicles on the road today. And we strongly think this is possible in India as well,” Matthias Struck, senior safety engineer, Development Safety, Mercedes-Benz told Autocar India.

Merc says road safety awareness key to reducing accidents


“There are some factors such as road infrastructure that we as a car manufacturer cannot influence. However, behavior is a thing that we can partly influence, so that is what we are doing through our 'Safe-Roads’ initiative.”

‘Safe Roads’ is a CSR initiative by Mercedes-Benz aimed at reducing the high rate of road-accident fatalities in the country by spreading awareness via means of physical demonstration, visual aids and research reports. Mercedes is hosting the Mumbai leg of its ‘Safe Roads’ initiative at the ongoing Autocar Performance Show.

Talking about the safety features currently being worked on by Mercedes-Benz, Struck spoke about an inflatable metal side-impact protection system, an active restraint system and a belt-bag among many other systems under evaluation.

While the metal structure unfolds on inflating seconds before a side impact to provide significantly greater rigidity and stability, the restraint system called Pre-Safe Pulse reduces the strain on the driver and front passenger’s upper bodies by moving them towards the centre of the vehicle.

Radar-based safety

Mercedes-Benz offers radar-based safety features such as blind spot assist and lane keeping assist as well as comfort features such as Magic Body Control on its models abroad. However, the India spec cars don’t get the safety features due to radar frequency restrictions put in place by the government.

While the government did recently de-license some low frequency bands, such as the 76-77GHz among others, for the automotive industry, Struck said that further de-licensing of some frequency bands would be required for Mercedes-Benz to introduce their radar-based advanced assistance systems.

“There was a huge barrier to introduce radar systems in Indian market so far, that has partly been released, which is great. But there are two more frequency bands to be de-licensed, the 24GHz and the 79GHz for us to introduce our radar based safety systems,” he said.

Interestingly, Struck indicated that the next generation E-class for India could get radar based safety features since it might use frequencies that have been de-licensed by the Indian government. “The next generation E-class will be using different frequencies, most likely in the 70’s (GHz). Hence, it could probably be allowed in India. However, that’s the technical perspective, I don’t know the legal perspective yet. Hence it will be difficult to say how it will impact our strategy for the Indian market.”

The next-gen E-class is expected to debut early next year at the 2016 Detroit motor show.

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