Mercedes-Benz champions two keystones that have made it a best-selling luxury brand: quality and innovation. It began in 1886 when Germany awarded Carl Benz a patent for his three-wheel “Motorwagen.” The wagon was a three-wheeled vehicle with a single-cylinder engine mounted to the rear, igniting a firestorm of imagination. Throughout the decades, Mercedes-Benz stayed at the forefront of the automotive industry by developing new technologies and encouraging progressive thinking that lead to breakthroughs in safety, efficiency, and luxury.
In 1910, the Benz Special Touring Car introduced the first engine with four valves per cylinder. This vastly improved performance and fuel efficiency.
It was in 1931 that the Mercedes-Benz 170 boasted a fully independent suspension system, a novel concept in those days. All four wheels could now respond as conditions dictated, and it remains a benchmark of safety even in the modern world.
The automaker implemented a crash test program in 1958, putting every model through rigorous tests to maximize safety in its vehicles. As you are well aware, brands now receive ratings and awards from various organizations like the IIHS.
1978 heralded a change in expectations for vehicles by making Antilock Braking Systems a standard feature. This provided drivers greater control of the steering wheel in emergency braking situations.
More recent innovations include Pre-Safe, a system introduced in 2002 that detects imminent collisions and adjusts headrests, seat belt restraints, and other safety features to best protect cabin occupants. In 2010, Mercedes-Benz added Attention Assist, which picks up on subtleties in driving behavior that indicate drowsiness – it will then audibly alert the driver to take a break.
This blog, however, is not about accomplishments in the company’s past. They merely serve as a preface for the effectiveness and caliber of Mercedes-Benz engineering. The automaker recently demonstrated its newest concept vehicle: a semi-autonomous big rig. It’s currently designated with the name Future Truck 2025, indicating the timeframe the company anticipates it may take to fine-tune the technology.
Tractor trailer drivers face stringent deadlines that require traveling thousands of miles between destinations. These long hours have the potential to endanger the drivers and others on the roadway. Whether it is fatigue or distractions, a single mistake could have irreversible consequences – a sobering thought. The Future Truck is specifically engineered to ease the demand on drivers, allowing them to take breaks and utilize their time in other ways.
A coupling of radar and stereo cameras afford this rig the ability to stay on course once reaching a set speed; furthermore, it has a communications system that can anticipate upcoming construction sites or congestion. The Future Truck can even recognize emergency vehicles and move out of the way.
Mercedes-Benz’s goals, while ambitious, are attainable. Much of the technology for the Future Truck is developed from current features offered in the S-Class sedan.