Interseat Protection in the ESF 2009

Daimler AG makes safety visible

Bertrandt supports Interseat Protection in the ESF 2009
The ESF 2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle made the progress achieved so far clearly visible to mark the year of safety anniversaries at Mercedes-Benz. By combining trailblazing innovations in the field of safety, the research vehicle already shows possible technologies of the future. As a long-standing development partner of Daimler AG, the engineering service provider Bertrandt also demonstrated its expertise in the ESF 2009: the “Interseat Protection” safety system integrated into the rear seats prevents head and shoulder collisions between the vehicle occupants and also provides value-added as a comfort element.

In demand:  interaction protection
With the ESF 2009, Daimler AG is clearly demonstrating its innovative power as a premium manufacturer. The Experimental Safety Vehicle, which is based on a Mercedes-Benz S 400 Hybrid, combines more than a dozen safety innovations – most of them already fully functional. Bertrandt was the development partner for an innovative protective pad aimed at protecting rear-seat passengers. The service provider was given the task of designing and developing this interaction protection to separate the rear-seat passengers and to install it as a model in the experimental vehicle. The development was based on findings from Mercedes-Benz accident research. A thematic analysis of head and chest curves showed that, in the event of a side impact or rollover accident, rearseat passengers can be injured by colliding with each other, even though they are wearing a three-point seatbelt. The aim was therefore to find a solution for the rear-seat passengers that could be quickly implemented and which offered high value-added.

Design
The technical product designers at Bertrandt Technikum in Ehningen provided the first draft designs of the new safety system quickly and with a high level of competence. The following requirements were taken into consideration during the development process:

  • The element should be stable and fixed in order to support the head and shoulders.
  • At the same time, the solution should offer a certain level of variability in order to adapt to different body sizes.
  • The component should have a rounded form and be positioned in the centre of the rear seat bench or between two single seats.
  • The perceived quality of the visible components should be very high.

 

Daimler selected the suitable geometries from the designs presented. In addition to achieving a very attractive appearance, the focus was on functionality and feasibility due to the high safety requirements.

Before the design data were implemented in hardware, the Bertrandt engineers simulated all motion sequences of the new system.

Development
As the development process continued, Bertrandt’s engineers focused on a protective pad that was to be integrated directly into the installation space above the folding centre armrest of the rear seats or the through-loading compartment and activated as part of the vehicle’s PRE-SAFE® system. As soon as PRE-SAFE® registers a side impact, the entire system is activated within fractions of a second and the protective function is deployed. As a special feature, the protective pad is designed to be used to support the shoulders of the rear-seat passengers, while headrests above extend to provide support for the head. In order to achieve the correct dimensions of the storage component and the headrests fitted above and to ensure functionality and feasibility, the Bertrandt designers carefully simulated all motion sequences of the new system using the CATIA kinetics program. For example, when considering the detailed design of the protective pad, the specialists decided to use a four-link hinge. The advantage is that, when at rest, the hinge is extremely flat but when required it can cover a large distance and also offers very high stability. During the development process, the engineers also made sure that Bertrandt would be able to manufacture the components required for building the model themselves. Only the electric motor was to be a bought-in part. The designs of the individual components were examined and coordinated with those responsible at Daimler AG.

Modelmaking
The building and integration of the unique component into the research vehicle was carried out in Bertrandt‘s Modelmaking department. To ensure that the process ran smoothly, Daimler AG provided an additional seat unit that was  available as a seating buck for the modelmakers at Bertrandt Technikum. The components for the storage box were milled from strong plastic; the mechanical components were made from steel and the whole system was covered in leather. The control circuits and circuit boards that ensure full functionality in an emergency were provided by Bertrandt from its Electronics competence centre. The result of the design is a protective pad that not only functions as an innovative safety system but also offers a new comfort function as an additional feature. The pad is designed to be manually extended by the passengers at the touch of a button, when it can be used as a head and shoulder support for a comfortable sleeping position in the rear seats during long journeys.

Investing in the future today
In only four months, Bertrandt developed and integrated the new “Interseat Protection” system into the ESF 2009. Research vehicles such as the ESF 2009 Experimental Safety Vehicle show that it is necessary to invest in innovative solutions at an early stage in order to bring sustainable solutions with series-production readiness to the market at a later date. Bertrandt is very pleased to have acted as a partner with Daimler AG and to have provided comprehensive development competence that contributed to a groundbreaking solution.