Europe's largest automotive association, the ADAC (German Automobile Association), which has reached a membership of 17 million, has awarded its coveted "Yellow Angel" for the seventh time. A panel of highly distinguished experts granted the distinction to the Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist systems from Mercedes-Benz in the Innovation & Environment category. This is already the fourth time that innovations from Daimler AG have taken first place in this most important of all automotive innovation contests.
The award was ceremoniously presented at the Munich Allerheiligen-Hofkirche (All Saints Court Chapel) on 13 January 2011. In his acceptance speech, Dr Thomas Weber, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG responsible for Group Research and Development Mercedes-Benz Cars, said: "This Yellow Angel award is a recognition not only of the innovation power of our company dedicates to road safety, it also reflects appreciation for our strategy of rapidly making new developments available in large-series production." The Active Blind Spot Assist and Active Lane Keeping Assist systems are two of ten safety-related innovations with which
Mercedes-Benz will equip the C-Class as from March, thus making these features available to a large number of customers.
The Active Blind Spot Assist system had its world premiere in mid-2010 in luxury-class vehicles. This feature alerts the driver if a change of lane would entail a risk of collision due to the presence of a vehicle in the adjacent lane, in the exterior mirror's blind spot. If the driver ignores the warnings and starts to draw dangerously close to the vehicle in the neighbouring lane, a brake application takes place to correct the vehicle's course.
The Active Lane Keeping Assist kicks into action if the Mercedes vehicle inadvertently drifts over a solid line to the right or left of a lane. In this case, Active Lane Keeping Assist uses the ESP® to gently brake the wheels on the far side and thereby bring the vehicle back on course. A display on the instrument cluster warns the driver at the same time. If broken lane markings are crossed, the system controls an electric pulse generator in the steering wheel which enerates vibrations for a short time – a discreet but highly effective cue to countersteer immediately. Before the braking system intervenes, the steering wheel always vibrates to provide a warning.
The Yellow Angel award in the Innovation and Environment category is the most important prize in Germany that appraises and honours innovative mobility, road safety and sustainable environmental protection. Consumers and industry trust the ADAC's test results and take them into account when it comes to development and purchase decisions. No other association in Germany can match the wealth of long-standing know-how and extensive test experience centred round mobility of the ADAC with its more than 17 million members.
The ADAC convened a top-level, competent jury to determine the winners of the award. The ADAC "Innovation and Environment" project committee drew up a short list of the ten best applications; from this list the jury chose the three winners. The jury consisted of Dr Matthias Wissmann (President of the VDA, German Association of the Automotive Industry), Volker Lange (President of the Association of International Motor Vehicle Manufacturers, VDIK), Robert Rademacher (President of the Central Association for the German Motor Vehicle Industry, ZDK), Peter Meyer (President of the ADAC), Arnulf Lode (ADAC finance Vice-president) and Thomas Burkhardt (ADAC Vice-president for technology).
In recent years, Mercedes-Benz and Daimler have already received three awards in the Innovation & Environment category: in 2006 for the clean diesel technology BlueTEC, in 2007 for the Active Brake Assist system for trucks and in 2009 for the innovative Lithium-ion battery in the S 400 HYBRID (together with Continental AG).