The following is excerpted from a Daimler press release concerning Mercedes-Benz. The entire release, and other related information, can be found by clicking on this sentence.
STUTTGART/IMMENDINGEN, Germany – For 50 years Mercedes-Benz experts have examined serious accidents involving current vehicles bearing the three-pointed star. The insights of Mercedes‑Benz Accident Research are incorporated into the improvement and design of updated and new models.
In September Mercedes-Benz celebrated an anniversary in the field of safety: 60 years of crash testing. The first crash test in the history of the brand took place on Sept. 10, 1959. A test car slammed head-on into a solid obstacle. A new era in safety research: because ever since then it has been possible to study the crash behavior of vehicles and occupants in more detail based on the test cars and test dummies. Crash tests are modelled on reality. Mercedes-Benz Accident Research, which also celebrates a notable anniversary this year, deals directly with real-life accidents.
Established in 1969, Mercedes-Benz Accident Research is one of the oldest departments of this kind in the global automotive industry. Since then, the teams have examined and reconstructed more than 4700 traffic accidents.
“The comprehensive approach of Mercedes-Benz safety development pursues two objectives, preventing accidents and mitigating the consequences of them”, emphasized Professor Rodolfo Schöneburg, Mercedes-Benz Centre Manager for Vehicle Safety, Operational Stability and Corrosion Protection. “Our safety philosophy is ‘real-life safety’. In addition to simulations and crash tests, what actually happens in accidents is an important aspect for us. Our accident research provides crucial insights from real accidents”.
Systematic reconstruction of collisions
Mercedes-Benz Accident Research has been systematically studying accidents for 50 years. Thanks to the cooperation with the Interior Ministry of Baden-Württemberg, the police report serious accidents involving a current Mercedes-Benz or smart model that occur within a radius of about 200 kilometers of Sindelfingen.
The work of the researchers usually starts on the accident vehicle in the workshop to which it was taken. In the next stage, the accident scene is visited to reconstruct the course of the accident even if only one vehicle was involved. Once they possess all the information, they systematically reconstruct the collision. Finally, the results are compared with the data from other accidents, so that over time, the automotive engineers get a precise picture of typical damage patterns and gain insights for the development of new, even more effective protection systems.
In order not to jeopardize their impartiality as researchers, the accident research experts never prepare any expert opinions for parties involved in an accident or as expert witnesses for the judicial system.