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The car detects danger, and prepares for an accident

Yoav Kwa

The Pre Safe system changes the sitting position to a safer one

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The safety researchers of "Mercedes" checked and found that two thirds of the accidents do not happen suddenly. According to them, a few seconds pass - very long, in the eyes of the driver and passengers - from the moment they realize that an accident is about to occur until the moment of the accident itself. Mercedes believes that this window of time can be used to prepare for an accident.

How does the car know that an accident is about to happen and how can you prepare for an accident? The new safety system is called Safe, Pre and it will be integrated starting in 2003 in the flagship models of the company, S Class.
The system computer is connected to the car's brakes and the electronic stability control (ESP). This connection allows the system to know exactly when the driver applies the emergency brake and when the car skids - two occurrences that may herald an accident.

As soon as one of the two things happens, or both happen at the same time, the system begins a chain of preparatory actions: the seat belts are tightened - the passengers are attached to the seats and the danger of the body slipping under the belt is small. The seat backrest straightens - to achieve a safer sitting position. The sunroof window (if there is one) closes - so that in the case of a rollover, the passengers will not be thrown out of the car and foreign objects will not penetrate from the outside. In addition, the weight of the passengers is measured and the system decides how powerfully to activate the airbags (full power may harm small and light passengers).

Could such a system have saved Princess Diana, who was killed during a Mercedes S Class collision? very doubtful Diana was not wearing a seat belt at the time. The Pre Safe system is not completely revolutionary, and it does not have sensors that are able to sense with certainty an imminent collision. Such components may well be part of such a system in the coming years, but they may also lead to the expropriation of control and judgment from the driver. It is no coincidence that Mercedes decided to emphasize that the current system does not limit the freedom to drive a car.

The robotics expert

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