Just before heading back home to Germany following a short tour of the U.S., Mercedes-Benz's ESF 2009 experimental safety vehicle made one last pit stop in front of a gaggle of American reporters in northern New Jersey. It offered a tantalizing glimpse of more than a dozen different systems designed to make driving (and crashing) safer.
Nearest on the horizon is a new type of child seat, according to ESF project manager Michael Fehring. The Child Protect System is essentially a child seat with steel reinforced padded bolsters and a cut-out back rest to accommodate children from 3 to 12 years old. The steel supports and side pads are intended to protect tots from car parts penetrating the interior. It makes current plastic booster seats look like Tinker Toys. Unfortunately, the seat, which will fit in any vehicle, probably won't hit the market for 3 years.