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Jul 1, 2014
Accident researchers and engineers from Mercedes-Benz and the trauma surgery experts of Klinikum Stuttgart will be working together in future in a cooperation project. The aim is to bring together the specialist knowledge of the doctors and the ideas of the engineers through joint project work in order to further reduce the number and severity of injuries in traffic accidents.
"Real Life Safety" is the scientific approach under which the hospital in Stuttgart and Mercedes-Benz are combining their forces to give fresh impetus to accident research. A cooperation agreement provides for a cooperative partnership between the experienced specialists for accident injuries and the accident researchers and engineers of the motor vehicle manufacturer. Professor Rodolfo Schöneburg, Head of Vehicle Safety at Mercedes-Benz Cars: "Jointly we will undertake intensive efforts to derive further potential for the improvement of road safety from new research approaches."
The cooperation between Klinikum Stuttgart and Daimler AG was initiated by Professor Dr Christian Knop, Medical Director of the Clinic for Trauma Surgery and Orthopaedics at Katharinenhospital. The Director of Klinikum Stuttgart, Professor Dr Jürgen Graf, comments: "As hospital providing the highest level of medical care we are especially interested in contributing to accident prevention with our expertise, and in Daimler AG we have found an outstanding partner for this."
As first project a joint trauma study was launched. According to exact specifications, the trauma surgeons of the Stuttgart clinic will investigate how the occupants of Mercedes-Benz cars were injured, and the gravity of the injuries, and assess the consequences of the accident for health. The Mercedes accident researchers can relate this data to the damage on the vehicles involved in the accidents and thus analyse, with much greater precision than before, how the injuries were incurred. In addition, the doctors of the Stuttgart clinic query their patients, with their consent, about the circumstances of the accident. The Ethics Committee of Klinikum Stuttgart has approved this project; all data remain anonymous, of course.
The two partners have selected the further development of virtual human models as second project. To date, so-called dummies are the assessment tools of the engineers. Human computer models can reproduce the biomechanical characteristics of humans in a much more specific way. Through computer simulation during the development of new products they will serve to make much more exact and deeper analyses of specific injury patterns. To achieve this purpose, the anatomy and biomechanics of the virtual human models must be extremely realistic. Only that will make it possible for the computer simulations to deliver results which conform to real life.
The third area of cooperation provides for the medical evaluation of safety innovations – such as the inflatable seat belt (beltbag) from Mercedes-Benz. Expert opinions based on the extensive experience of the trauma surgeons of the Stuttgart clinic will accompany such new safety developments so that timely use can be made of medical knowledge.
Scientifically based knowledge from studies and detailed analyses of numerous real-life accidents have been the basis for the development of car safety systems at Mercedes-Benz for decades. For this reason, the Mercedes-Benz experts refer here to "Real Life Safety".
Through precise evaluation of actual accidents they have been able to develop new safety systems from which car occupants and other road users as well benefit – starting with the crumple zone, the airbag or PRE-SAFE®, which have saved many lives owing to their effectiveness, and continuing to today's state-of-the-art safety systems, which relieve driver stress, warn drivers if necessary, and assist them in difficult situations, for example with steering pulses or autonomous braking. Since Mercedes-Benz repeatedly sets standards for active and passive safety with this scientific approach, the Stuttgart-based car manufacturer has acquired the reputation of a safety pioneer.