@ Vikas Sharma | Sr Journalist
New Delhi – Daimler entities in India unveiled the Mercedes-Benz Experimental Safety Vehicle ESF 2019 at the 2nd edition of the SAFE ROADS Summit India 2019 in the presence of Shri Nitin Gadkariji, Honourable Minister for Road Transport & Highways of India, Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, Government of India.
The SAFE ROADS India Summit is part of the nationwide ‘SAFE ROADS’ initiative launched in 2015 by Daimler entities operating in India – Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI), Mercedes-Benz India (MBIL) and Daimler India Commercial Vehicles (DICV).
SAFE ROADS was conceptualized in 2015 to promote road safety to the public through physical demonstrations, visual aids and research reports, through a road show format. Taking the awareness to the next level, the SAFE ROADS India Summit was launched in 2017 with the theme ‘Child Safety and Vulnerable Road Users on Indian Roads’.
This year, the Summit will be held with the theme of ‘Automated Driving and Future of Road Safety in India’. Incorporating more than a dozen trailblazing safety innovations in tangible form, the summit reflects the mobility of the future and the new approaches for safety systems associated with automated driving. Among the attractions at the event are exhibits imported from Germany that offer a first-hand look into safety measures that can save lives during road accidents. Daimler chose the Summit as the perfect opportunity for the unveiling of the futuristic research car ‘Mercedes-Benz ESF 2019’ in India.
Safety is a core competency and a core value for Daimler and its automotive brands, which include the world famous ‘Mercedes-Benz’. Mercedes-Benz is renowned worldwide for developing highly sophisticated safety systems. On Indian roads, approximately 150,000 people die every year of road accidents, largely caused due to ignorance of safety norms and rules. ‘SAFE ROADS’ was hence conceptualized by Daimler in an effort to reduce this startling fatality rate on Indian roads, by creating more awareness on road safety. Daimler is convinced that such initiatives can begin an era of road safety awareness that supports a new culture of road safety for the Indian people.
Manu Saale, Managing Director & CEO, MBRDI stated, “At Mercedes-Benz, safety is an integral part of our brand promise and with SAFE ROADS, our attempt is to promote and make roads safer for every user. Given the understanding of road safety scenario in India, we laid the foundation by launching the SAFE ROADS nationwide initiative four years ago. Our journey in promoting road safety across the country, first, through road shows in eight cities and now with the SAFE ROADS India Summit, has been very fulfilling. This biennial Summit is a significant step to make our initiative touch a larger audience through a sustainable and more effective manner. It’s a conglomeration of automotive safety experts from India and across the globe, sharing and exchanging insights and latest developments in the field of safety through live exhibits and expert speaks.”
Martin Schwenk, Managing Director & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “Safety has remained core to Mercedes-Benz’s DNA and it is one of the key reasons why customers trust in our brand. Apart from presenting some of the safest vehicles across our range, we also keep raising the benchmark in the domain of safety through innovative safety features for our customers. Mercedes-Benz India has been introducing novel safety measures in its product offerings that enhances safety of the passengers. Our latest contribution towards customer safety is the introduction of the ‘e-Call’ service, which we launched with our connected car application ‘Mercedes me connect’ in India. This is the first-ever ‘e-Call’ service in the industry with the aim of reducing fatalities by enabling faster and specific assistance in case of an accident. The eCall service can immediately deploy on-site emergency assistance upon receving data set from the affected vehicle’s embedded e-Call unit, and also verbal information from the passenger. This will be available 24/7 and 365 days per year and will cover 27 states and 5 union territories in India. We strongly believe ‘SAFE ROADS’ initiative will be able to underline all these aspects of road safety comprehensively and make Indian roads, ‘safer’.”
Satyakam Arya, Managing Director & CEO, Daimler India Commercial Vehicles mentioned, “We at Daimler India Commercial Vehicles show our commitment to road safety in India by introducing global technologies that revolutionize the CV industry. Our BharatBenz brand has led this sector in safety since being launched in 2012 with crash-tested steel cabins. We will continue to develop and promote safety technologies that save Indian lives through our products and the SAFE ROADS initiative.”
Jochen Feese, Head of Accident Research, Safety Concepts and Child Safety at Mercedes-Benz AG said, “Safety is our core brand value and is a part of the DNA for Mercedes-Benz. That is precisely one of the reasons for building the ESF 2019. We have done so to show the ideas and concepts on which our safety experts are currently working in research and development. One highlight is the cooperative behaviour and communication with the environment: the ESF takes care of all road users surrounding it.”
Child safety is another important field for the safety engineers. Already in the previous edition of SAFE ROADS India Summit 2017, the focus was on ‘Child safety and vulnerable roads users in India’ – which made an impact across the country.
“With the ESF 2019, we are also promoting our idea for a connected child seat with PRE-SAFE® functions. In dangerous driving conditions, PRE-SAFE® Child can reduce the belt slack by tightening the child seat belt. Furthermore, side bolsters extend on the door side to provide better lateral support of the seat. These measures can help to significantly reduce the risk of injury for the child”, Jochen Feese adds.
In 2017, through Mercedes-Benz’ nationwide CSR efforts, more than 15,000 children – the future road users — from New Delhi, Bangalore and Pune received training on road safety measures. At the Summit, 300 school children and 200 college students from New Delhi attended the event. The college students were given a ‘First Responder Training’ by NGO partner Indian Head Injury Foundation.