by Adrian-Liviu Dorofte

8th VDI Safety Conference focuses on the electric drive: "Further halving of the number of traffic accident fatalities"

On the 5th and 6th October, the Association of German Engineers ("Verein Deutscher Ingenieure" - VDI) organised its 8th Safety Conference in Berlin, under the chairmanship of Prof. Dr. Ing. Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of the Passive Safety Centre at Mercedes-Benz, and Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Volker Schindler, Head of the Department of Automotive Engineering of the Technical University of Berlin. The focal point of the conference was the topic of the safety of vehicles with alternative drives.

In his opening address to the conference, Prof. Dr. Schöneburg said: "To reduce the number of accidents even further, it is essential that we no longer just concentrate on the actual collision, but also take into account the pre-accident and post-accident phases." When it comes to the safety of future mobility, he also explained that it is important to achieve further improvements in all phases, from the origins of the accident right through to the rescue.

The "Berlin Declaration", published by the VDI at the start of the conference, outlines the focal points for road safety research:

- avoid accidents with the aid of sensor-based assessment of the environment, communication between vehicles and the environment as a whole (Car2X Communication), and also investigation of the origins of accidents
- reduce the consequences of accidents by making use of the pre-accident phase as well as innovative safety technology
- new potentials for the protection of occupants and unprotected road users
- formulate effective safety standards and requirements and ensure they are harmonised on a global basis. This also includes promoting the comparability of the Real Life Performance of future designs and solutions by means of global uniform data collection and analysis

In his introduction, Prof. Dr. Schöneburg pointed to the fact that the number of victims of traffic accidents has fallen significantly in past years. "The EU initiative to halve the number of deaths on the roads has also been very successful in the last decade." However, with reference to current accident statistics, the rapid growth of individual mobility worldwide as well as new drive concepts, Schöneburg also warned: "Any further reduction in the number of accident victims is not something which will just occur automatically of its own accord. Considerable efforts are still required in order to continue to make progress."

Speaking on the sidelines of the VDI conference, Prof. Dr. Schöneburg also added: "The goal of a further halving of the number of traffic accident fatalities can only be achieved if we continue to democratise innovative safety systems. Mercedes-Benz is leading the way by setting a good example in this area. In the new B-Class, for example, the PRE-SAFE preventive safety system has been made available for the first time in the compact class. The B-Class also features another world's first as standard in the form of COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST, a radar-based system designed to prevent rear-end collisions, as well as a whole host of other assistance systems.

The second day of the conference was opened by Dr. Andreas Truckenbrodt with a keynote speech entitled "Electric mobility on the brink of commercialisation". As CEO of the AFCC Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, a majority joint venture between Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Ballard Power Systems headquartered in Vancouver (Canada), Dr. Truckenbrodt gave an overview of the current status of fuel cell research. He also warned against patent remedies ("The key lies in the portfolio of drive technologies, including battery and fuel cell"), analysed the state of the art ("Costs are the main challenge") and responded to the question: what changes will occur in the area of safety?

Mercedes-Benz also highlighted specific ways in which the goals of the "Berlin Declaration" could be achieved with the following specialist presentations:

- Pre-Crash innovation as part of integral safety – an examination of the reversible PRE-SAFE® Pulse System (presented by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Dipl.-Wirt.-Ing. (FH) Markus Woldrich, Head of the Exterior/Passive Safety Cost Team)

- International harmonisation of accident data: progress report of the iGLAD project (Initiative for the Global Harmonization of Accident Data) of the FIA/ACEA (presented by Dipl.-Ing. Dirk Ockel, Head of Accident Research)

- Necessary measures for examining (e.g. crash) entire vehicles with alternative drives and their components (presented by Prof. Dipl.-Ing. Norbert Schaub, Head of Passive Safety Testing, Life Cycle Testing, NVH, and Vehicle Functions)

Source: Daimler AG

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