The "Yellow Angels", which are awarded every year by the ADAC German automobile club in recognition of outstanding achievements, are among the most-coveted awards in the European automobile industry. Consumers value them as useful yardsticks by which to judge brands and innovations in the mobility sector. In the "Innovation" category, the high-calibre jury consisting of ADAC committee members and representatives of industrial associations decided in favour of "Active Brake Assist", with which Mercedes-Benz has defined a new level of safety for trucks.
Andreas Renschler, the member of the DaimlerChrysler Board of Management with responsibility for Truck Group and Buses, noted on 18 January at the award ceremony in Munich: "This year, in conferring this award on the Active Brake Assist, you have decided in favour of a safety technology in trucks which is capable of saving human lives. Active Brake Assist represents, for the present, the zenith in a series of safety systems which have in recent years come onto the market in our commercial vehicles: Lane Assistant, roll control, proximity control and ESP electronic stability control.
Another important prize in the industry is the "Safety Award", which is presented every two years at the Brussels Commercial Vehicle Show by the Belgian Association of Automotive and Commercial Vehicle Journalists, with the award going to the commercial vehicle manufacturer responsible for the greatest advance in development in the field of vehicle safety. In 2007 the coveted prize was awarded for the Mercedes-Benz "Active Brake Assist" and the Mercedes-Benz Actros Safety Truck.
"Active Brake Assist", which was developed by Mercedes-Benz under the working title of Emergency Brake Assistant, is capable of preventing a high percentage of rear-end collisions. It initiates emergency braking if a collision with the vehicle travelling in front appears unavoidable, thereby preventing rear-end collisions.
"Active Brake Assist" is based on the radar system of the Telligent proximity control. In contrast to proximity control, which automatically maintains a preset safe distance from the vehicle in front, "Active Brake Assist" automatically initiates emergency braking in cases where there is an acute risk of a rear-end collision with the vehicle travelling in front. It uses the three radar beams of the proximity control system, which detect obstacles in front of the truck, and continuously calculates the differential speed with respect to the vehicle in front. In cases where an accident appears unavoidable unless there is a change in the on-road situation, the driver is first of all issued with visual and audible warnings. If the risk of collision increases, the vehicle is additionally braked with 30% of the braking power. If the driver still fails to react, the system then automatically initiates emergency braking. Although "Active Brake Assist" cannot always actively prevent accidents, by initiating the full braking effect, it will always considerably reduce the collision speed and therefore the severity of the consequences of an accident.
Already last year, DaimlerChrysler won the award in the "Innovation" category with its Blue-Tec technology, which helps to lower the emissions of diesel engines.