MB Brake Assist Celebrates 25th Birthday

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Source: Mercedes-Benz announcement

STUTTGART, Germany — Emergency braking can save lives. However, many drivers then step on the brake pedal quickly but not forcefully enough – this is what Mercedes-Benz engineers discovered in the early 1990s during tests in the company’s driving simulator. Their answer was the brake assistant BAS, also called the “Brake Assist System.” The brand presented it on 25 November 1996. BAS was considered one of the key links in the chain of important Mercedes-Benz safety developments.

From December 1996, Brake Assist was standard equipment, initially in the S-Class (model series 140) and SL (R 129). The other model series also gradually received the assistance system.

Its mode of operation: the BAS interpreted a certain speed at which the brake pedal is depressed as an emergency situation and built-up maximum brake boost within fractions of a second. This significantly shortened the braking distance – at 100 km/h on dry roads, for example, by up to 45 per cent. Mercedes-Benz investigated its effect in the driving simulator: Brake Assist was able to mitigate or even prevent rear-end collisions.

And it made an effective contribution to pedestrian protection. In a series of experiments, 55 car drivers drove through a town at 50 km/h when suddenly a child ran onto the carriageway. Only full braking prevented the accident.

Just how far system networking had already progressed at that time was shown by the fact that Brake Assist worked with data from the ABS anti-lock braking system – as did the ASR traction control system, the ASD automatic limited-slip differential, the ESP® Electronic Stability Program, the electronically controlled automatic transmission, the DISTRONIC proximity control system and many more. Depending on the function and task, further sensors and controls were also used. The control electronics of ABS, ESP®, BAS and ASR were combined in one control unit.

Another example of networking: in the premiere year of Brake Assist, other Mercedes-Benz safety developers were already working on the PRE-SAFE preventive occupant protection system®.

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This used the BAS information that an accident situation was imminent as one of several indicators: immediately PRE-SAFE® prepared the interior for a possible collision by, among other things, adjusting the seat backrests for optimum belt effectiveness and closing the sunroof. PRE-SAFE® celebrated its premiere in the 220 model series S-Class in 2002. The integrated system finally put an end to the previously common separate consideration of active and passive safety.

To view the entire announcement, click HERE.

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