25 years ago, Mercedes invented automatic emergency braking

Sort of

Sometimes it feels like Mercedes has invented, pioneered or improved just about every car feature you can think of, including automatic emergency braking. Sort of.

In the early 1990s, Mercedes began conducting a series of tests and found out that in an emergency situation, drivers tend to step on the brake pedal as fast as they can but without enough force. In 1996, Mercedes revealed a new system called BAS, Brake Assist System.

It was available in the 140 S-Class and the R 129 SL, and it automatically detected whether the brake pedal had been pressed out of panic or as part of a standard braking manoeuvre and compensated if needed. At 60 mph, for example, it shortened the braking distance by up to 45%.

In order to perfect the BAS, Mercedes combined data from the traditional ABS, the traction control, the ESP and the limited-slip diff. The BAS is basically the grandfather of automatic braking systems that we find in modern cars.

Have you ever driven a car with automatic braking or a similar system/feature?

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Comments (16)

  • 25 years ago, Mercedes invented automatic emergency braking @tribe

      6 days ago
  • Damn it, i forgot how beautiful the R129 is.

      5 days ago
  • And on the w140 s class they invented soft closing doors and a beep when u are too close to something when parking.

      6 days ago
  • I’d say Volvo’s invention of the seatbelt is more important

      6 days ago
    • In bulgaria it's still not mandatory I think.

      One of my coworkers told me the story about a crash where people with seatbelt died in the car and people without were ejected from the car and survived the crash.

        4 days ago
    • That’s quite rare. Usually the person who’s ejected dies and the person wearing the seatbelt lives.

        4 days ago
  • My E-Class had this system, it doesnt activate often but when it does you get reminded of just how fast it can slow down. Combine it with the Pre-Safe seatbelts pulling tight just in case of an accident and its re-assuring its there if needed. Feels like your car is keeping an eye out for you (good on a family bus) but its not intrusive in the slightest

      4 days ago