The vehicle would have cutting-edge safety tech, like a connected AI that would constantly improve driver assistance tech.
Mercedes-Benz has a new version of the safety-focused ESF concept to debut later in the year, and the company is making the lofty claim that the cutting-edge tech could make it an uncrashable car. In an interview with Australia's Motoring, Mercedes' R&D boss Ola Kalennius spilled some of the details about the upcoming machine.
"Things like autonomous driving and sophisticated driver assistance are all enablers to reduce traffic accidents. Because virtually all traffic accidents are human error," Kalennius told Motoring. He suggests that some of the tech in the new ESF is nearly production ready and could arrive in future vehicles.
Kalennius hinted that connected artificial intelligence would be part of the machine's safety recipe. The vehicle would collect driving data and share it with a central server to learn how to control the driver assistance systems better. If something goes wrong, the concept would also have cutting-edge occupant protection tech. So if an accident does happen, a person wouldn't sustain serious injuries.
"We will do something in the middle of this year, to demonstrate what the future of safety is going to look like," Kalennius told Motoring. That timing hints to us at a possible unveiling at the 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show in September. The timing seems right, and Germany's biggest automotive industry event would have the right prestige for such a major debut.
Gallery: Mercedes ESF S400 Hybrid Concept 2009 initial photos
The last Mercedes ESF concept (gallery above) debuted in 2009. It used the then-upcoming S400 Hybrid as a starting point with lots of extra safety tech. Metal structures inflated in a crash to provide extra protection. In a side impact, the seats moved towards the center of the vehicle to increase the crush space.