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May 07
May 21, 2003
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Coveted US award for Mercedes safety engineer Karl-Heinz Baumann

Photo: DC
 
  • Spiritual father of the PRE-SAFE system receives award from U.S. authority

  • 26 years of work dedicated to passenger car safety

  • Inventor of automatic roll-over protection and the modular concept

Stuttgart - The American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is presenting Mercedes engineer Karl-Heinz Baumann with the "U.S. Government Award for Safety Engineering Excellence", in recognition of Baumann's outstanding achievements in the field of vehicle safety, including numerous innovations that have revolutionized the concept of occupant protection. This coveted award is handed out every two years at the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV) Conference

 

Karl-Heinz Baumann has worked in passenger car safety development at Mercedes-Benz since 1977. He was a vital member of the team that developed the PRE-SAFE pre-crash occupant protection system, which made its series production debut in the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in autumn 2002. PRE-SAFE is the automotive equivalent of human reflex: just as all living things rely on reflex to protect themselves from sudden danger, the new safety technology at the heart of the S-Class activates specially-developed mechanisms to prepare the occupants and the vehicle for an imminent collision. This preventive occupant protection system sees Mercedes-Benz ushering in a new era of passenger car safety. PRE-SAFE is the culmination of some six years of intensive development work in which Karl-Heinz Baumann -head of passive safety concepts at the Mercedes Technology Centre in Sindelfingen, Germany - played a pivotal role.

Further innovations based on the work of this 52-year-old graduate engineer include automatic roll-over protection for the SL-Class - Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive brand to unveil this system in 1989 - and the easy-repair, multiple-module concept for the front and rear structures of various Mercedes passenger cars.

Between 1992 and 1996, Baumann was heavily involved in the development of the compact smart car, renowned for offering an exemplary level of occupant protection in its class. In 1997 he came up with the practical seven-phase idea, a concept that defines passenger car safety as a single entity, forging links between active safety and passive safety.

(May 17, 2003)


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