Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Mercedes-Benz pre-safe sound (mercedesbenzofnatick.com)
474 points by melenaboija 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 251 comments

I lost most of my hearing in my left ear in a head-on collision with a drunk driver. No other injuries. The audiologist said that my eardrum was in the kind of state you usually only see in battlefields from exposure to large explosions.

People are always surprised when I tell them this was my only injury, and as a result I've always wondered how common this type of injury is with vehicle collisions. This is the first thing I've seen which makes me believe that it's a lot more common than people suspect.

Very cool! I hope this is taken up by other brands as well.

There was a blogpost I read a few years back written by someone who damaged their hearing after dropping a porcelain toilet lid. They actually ran some back-of-the-envelope calculations to estimate the decibel level, I recall it being shockingly high.

There was a pretty good HN comment thread about it: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16723099

From the linked thread:

""" 5. The stupid toilet bowl lid only fell about 8 inches. How could it damage my hearing so badly? I looked up the speed of sound in ceramic, divided by the length of the toilet bowl lid (and divided by 2 since the fundamental vibration is a half wavelength). This predicts 3.5 kHz.

6. This frequency is in the audible range. Using the short dimension of the toilet bowl predicts another (higher) frequency. The toilet bowl lid probably resonated at both those frequencies and their harmonics, putting all the energy into just those specific wavelengths.

7. The toilet bowl lid was not chipped or damaged, so the impact energy went mainly into sound (& internal heat) Maybe like half the impact energy went into sound energy. This lid was concave up like an antenna, near my face when it hit, focusing the energy into my face.

8. The energy travels into your inner ear and the cochlea. The pressure wave is strongest at some distance down the cochlea depending on frequency. Since the toilet bowl lid put all the energy into SPECIFIC FREQUENCIES, it was concentrated onto specific spots in the cochlea.

9. Apparently, this concentration of energy was enough to damage the hairs -- to bend them over like trampled grass -- and I was concerned it could be permanent. My hearing was only slightly better the next morning. It was like everybody was still talking at me through kazoos. """

Fascinating. Be careful around dropping shatter-proof ceramics, I suppose!

Be careful dropping glass bottles into recycling bins too; they pose nearly the same problem - they don't usually shatter and the sound escapes the bin upwards towards you.

Why isn't this taught to everyone at a young age? I had no idea this could happen and it kind of terrifies me that I can lose my hearing so easily like this without having any clue.

Then go buy the toilet lids that don’t drop with the acceleration of gravity, i. e., “soft close”. Hearing loss or not, I don’t want to hear anyone dropping the toilet lid in the middle of the night.

The culprit was actually a lid on the tank. I've never seen a toilet lid, soft close or not, that doesn't have plastic pieces that prevent full direct contact between the lid and the part below it. They'll deform under pressure, taking the noise level down from unbearable to just loud.

Yeah, I saw that it was the lid after I posted. In fact, I even remember the original post, and at the time thought, "huh, never even thought of that". Welcome to middle age, where a lot of stuff starts to occur to you after the fact. :-|

Even though this isn’t the same thing op is talking about, I also vouch for these. Slow-close toilet lids are amazing. The only problem is when you visit someone else’s house, you have to be conscious when using their toilets else you end up slamming the lid accidentally by reflexively just starting the closing process and finding out they aren’t slow-close lids (BANG!)

I don't believe we're talking about the same thing.

The ceramic lid usually goes over the water tank.

(also, you can't control all the toilets in the world)

> (also, you can't control all the toilets in the world)

But imagine if you could!

This is the first time I've heard of it, and I studied engineering.

Wish I knew this back when I worked in bars, emptying big bins of glass into the outdoor bins. Learnt quickly to look up when I did it.

How would looking up help, though? Unless I’m misunderstanding, the sound would still be coming up straight towards your face/ears.

You look up by bending your neck and your upper back, so when your body is bent forward, looking up will actually move your head (incl your ears) further away from the glass bin.

What the other kind commenters said. I just found it worked. I like the analogy of the funnel, pointing it 90 degrees from where it usually is. OH&S wasn't such a thing back in my day (and I'm not even that old), smoking inside was still a thing (banned in that Australian state I was in a long time ago now). I'd use the air conditioners as a break to get some fresh air.

But anyway, a big bin full of glass being emptied was damn loud, but all the concerts I went to wouldn't have helped.

rather than your ears concentrating/funneling the sound into your ear canal, they would be muffling it since the direct sound wave direction would basically now point into your earlobe

I've been surprised at how loud emptying a bucket of aluminum cans into an empty bin can be, the half open lid also reflects the sound back toward you.

Yes, that's the recurrent loudest noise I experience in my life. Not so many times per year obviously, but more than concerts or disco. I should try bending knees to put my ears below the top of the bin.

I've started tilting the bin at a 45 degree angle, and sliding the bottles in. Seems to help somewhat.

Yeah, and it’s even worse if the bin happens to be in an enclosed space!

I recall reading that discussion when it was first posted. There was something I didn't understand at the time, and now that it's brought up again, I want to ask: He mentions there being a fairly short window in which an ENT physician can try to treat the damage, after which no treatments will be possible. I thought all hearing damage was permanent, always, notwithstanding the potential new advances in growing the hairs back. So what exactly could they try, and what difference does time make?

This comes up fairly often on tinnitus fora. Basically there is some "consensus" that a shot of steroids within a very short window, ideally less than 24 hours, can help. Unfortunately, the most common response to damaging one's hearing seems to be to sleep it off for a week and hope it gets better, making it difficult to conduct a study on early responses.

There are studies though, and my conclusion is that it's still mostly inconclusive. Still, if my tinnitus suddenly worsened id be down at the doctor's begging for the steroids.

I had minor hearing loss after a festival, went to an ENT around 72 hours afterwards and was prescribed steroids

After a week my hearing was back to normal, so at least in my case it worked (although I guess there's a question of whether it would have recovered anyway)

Also works as an emergency short term fix for vocal folds as well - some singers if they have inflammation just before a big performance will take some, however, it's not without risk as you can cause additional (potentially irreversible) damage.

If I understand correctly some of the most common painkillers are steroids.

I might have seen Ibuprofen mentioned explicitly in relation with hearing loss.

Can anyone confirm or deny if taking Ibuprofen could help if one is stuck without a doctor?

> If I understand correctly some of the most common painkillers are steroids.

Most over-the-counter painkillers (other than acetaminophen/paracetamol) are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. OTOH, if the reason steroids work against hearing injuries is anti-inflammatory properties, NSAIDs might also work.

(OTOH, regular use of NSAIDs and acetaminophen is known to sometimes cause tinnitus and hearing loss, so, there’s that...)

Well, ibuprofen is certainly not a steroid - it is an NSAID (non-steroidal anti inflammatory drug)

Aha, thanks for clearing up : )

Ibuprofen is a NSAID (non steroidal anti-inflammatory drug).

[Edit: okay I was beaten to it :-)]

They prescribe systemic steroids. Steroids reduce inflammation and might help recovery a little.

I wonder if screaming when you realize you're dropping it would provide some protection.

If your reflexes are that good, sure.

To avoid confusion here, I think we are talking about ceramic cistern lids and not toilet bowl lids as the parent quote actually mentions.

The post starts off mentioning cistern lids, and the title mentions cistern lids, but lapses into toilet bowl lid about the time the parent starts quoting.

"2 I was fixing the mechanism inside the tank of the toilet. The only thing left to do was to put the ceramic lid back on the tank"

So guys, still no excuse for not putting the lid back down when you've finished ;)

Porcelain toilet lids and the metal plates on weightlifting machines are among the most dangerous common objects when it comes to hearing damage.

I've heard of cases where the plates on the machine were stuck together with grease and the user had selected a much lighter weight than usual. A number of plates below the linchpin were all the way up by the bonds of the grease before slipping and falling back down. The metal on metal impact rings out like a bell, right next to the user's head (in the case of bench press). Really nasty!

fragsworth mentions being the victim of exactly this issue with weightlifting machines (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16723769) in the post linked by coke12 (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20700966).

Thanks for linking this. This is what I was referring to, I had forgotten where I had heard of it happening.

Another good reason to barbell bench and skip the machine!

Or dumbbell bench with those heavily rubberized weights. Dropping them is about as close to silent as you can get, and the exercises are the ultimate in form-focused weight training.

> heavily rubberized weights

They're called bumper plates! They're so you can drop a loaded bar without causing everyone to glare at you - and also to help avoid the plates bouncing onto your foot.

But you shouldn't need these on the bench. If you bench without a spotter and get stuck, move the weights to your hip and then sit up and shift them slowly to the floor like you're finishing a deadlift. (I've always called this the 'strongman escape' but it has no formal name afaik)

Haha, I’ve always heard it called the “roll of shame”.

The bumper plates are also round, which makes it easier to get a deadlift into position, and makes it land better when doing reps. The first 45 is a bumper plate, then add regular plates from there.

Resist the urge to bounce off the bottom of the rep! :-)

I’m a small guy who used to frequent a bodybuilder focused gym. I can attest to the truth of this.

There's usually some dampening at the bottom of the pile of weights, but yeah it can be loud depending on how heavy and how fast it is dropped.

Even a piece of paper between each weight would surely absorb most of the energy and make it much quieter? Why don't all machines have that?

Good question, I don't know the answer.

I think it also has to do with how rough the surface of the plates is, I believe a bit of a rough surface can help with the noise (some have a very polished surface and I can hear that from a mile)

I've hurt my ears at more than one occasion because of this. It's surprising how loud a porcelain lid can be.

Here's the post you're referring to: https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/979583605637877760.html

The TL;DR is that from his calculation the lid dropping could generate noise at 138 dB, and hearing loss happens at around 140 dB.

What makes it worse is that quite a few toilet lids are self closing / soft closing these days. So if you get used to it, you start trusting the lid to close itself and take your hand from underneath the lid while it's still at a height. So it's easy to slam the lid down accidentally.

I would just like to point out that people have been hitting all sorts of things with other things for millennia and the only people getting hearing damage from it were the ones doing it particularly loudly for decades as their day job (i.e. people in loud factories).

This is below the level of terrorist attacks and shark bites in Kansas on the things to worry about list.

Or... Those are the only ones officially reporting it so they can get workplace compensation...

If I dropped my toilet lid, I probably wouldn't officially report it anywhere - not much can be done, after all.

Aren’t airbags essentially explosions going off in your face? Fancy car like mercedes probably has 10+ of them going off around you

Especially the one in the door right next to your head could be bad for your ears I imagine ...

Never thought of that before. Thanks for bringing it up

I've had my front airbags go off twice and didn't notice any impact on my hearing. It was just kind of a loud bang, but not to the point of causing discomfort. Maybe it varies by car and type of accident though.

>Fancy car like mercedes probably has 10+ of them going off around you

And a really well sealed cabin because they don't want any road noise creeping in.

Exploding into a bag, though, so isn't most of the energy absorbed by the expansion of the bag?

The bags do displace a lot of ambient air while they are absorbing those explosions.

Yes, but people regularly get burns and light blunt trauma from airbags. The US versions of many cars even have slightly weaker airbags, because many people don't wear seatbelts and might be killed by a full-strength airbag.

You've actually got it backward. FVMSS regulations in the US require airbags that are more forceful than the UNECE regulations in place in Europe (and other countries which follow Europe instead of the US). You're correct it is about seatbelt use, though. No seatbelt requires a faster airbag to restrain the occupant.

In modern cars the airbag will not fire if the seatbelt is not used. This is the reason why we even have seat belt detectors that make this annoying noise - not just to annoy you but also to figure out whether its safe to fire airbag or not.

Getting hit with airbag into the face when wearing eye glasses for example... that would suck, would it not?

This is completely untrue. The airbag will fire regardless of whether the seatbelt is worn, though it will be much less effective at restraining you. Out of curiosity, where on earth did you get the idea that they don’t fire?

This is just false. Look up a crash test video. You very much do hit the airbag despite the seatbelt.

I’ve taken up wearing earplugs while driving.

I also work in a noisy environment, and it occurs to me that the road and engine and wind noise is probably loud enough to have a negative impact on hearing over time. Less so in newer cars, but both mine are over 10yo.

Also, in the event of a collision I’m protected.

At least in most of the usa, wearing earplugs (or earbuds, headphones, etc) while operating a car, is illegal. Please check with your local PD to be safe. You may just be putting yourself and others at higher risk by attinuating your situational awareness.

I wear earplugs when I ride my motorcycle for longer trips on the highway. When people see this, they say "that's dangerous, you'll hear less" but it mostly cuts the wind noise, and counter-intuitively I end up hearing more than I would otherwise.

They make flat-frequency-response earplugs, too. They don't cost much more, and you get to keep the highs that provide context while still reducing the overall sound intensity. I love them for both motorcycle rides and concerts. You'll find several hits if you search for Musician's Earplugs.

I have some hearing damage with mild tinnitus and find it hard to follow discussions in noisy environments (bars, very noisy public transport, even some restaurants). Custom fitted flat frequency earplugs are the perfect help for these situations, I always carry them in pocket just in case.

Would you expound on this a little and perhaps mention some brands? I also have issues following discussions in those kinds of environments. I can hear the people talking, but it blends into the background noise and becomes very difficult to isolate the actual words.

Sure. My plugs are Elacin ER. I walked into a hearing aid/protection shop and got a mold of my ear canals made. Plugs were made to match the mold, took a couple of weeks and about 200€. Noise reduction is done with an exchangeable filter with different options for reduction levels, I'm using 25dB.

Not the cheapest but if you don't lose them the should last a decade.

Let me know if you have any other questions!

Thank you very much!

Etymotic Research


On a motorcycle, earplugs are a necessity at speeds over 35 MPH due to wind noise. I've found that the earplugs really only cut out the wind noise for the most part though and if anything, my awareness of other cars is increased.

> At least in most of the usa, wearing earplugs (or earbuds, headphones, etc) while operating a car, is illegal. Please check with your local PD to be safe. You may just be putting yourself and others at higher risk by attinuating your situational awareness.

Actually, it seems like it's legal in most states? [0] Unless your local municpal code says differently.

[0]: https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/tag/headsets/

Proper situational awareness while driving is a visual task. As people age, they begin to lose hearing and ability to localize sounds due to age and noise exposure. Leaning on hearing for safety becomes a liability.

That’s incredibly narrow-minded. You’re not “leaning on hearing”. You’re using all the information you can get. Hearing is vital.

How else would you know an ambulance is around the corner, about to run a red light? There are things you simply cannot see, no matter how hard you look.

Emergency response drivers never assume they've been heard by any road users and are trained to look for signs of acknowledgement and awareness before doing anything unusual for exactly this reason. They certainly don't blast at speed around blind corners against the lights.

On the other hand driving schools in Europe sometimes make us drive with construction safety devices in order to check if we can drive without hearing anything. They also obstruct the middle mirror (you're supposed to be able to drive with just side mirrors).

As a European with a drivers license this is news to me.

Not even all schools in my country do that, it's nothing standard, just something some schools around me do (and it's encouraged by the police). However I think it's illustrative of the car culture. The center mirror thing is done by all schools though.

When I was learning to drive, my biggest complaint was that I couldn't hear the engine when there was noise in the area - it was a very quiet one. It made it harder to do hill starts and clutch balancing. Now I drive a diesel.

At low speeds, driving around car parks etc, the ear plugs are out and usually have all the windows at least partly open, because I’m those environments hearing can be a huge boost to situational awareness.

I find above 40k/hr my hearing is better with ear plugs because it attenuates the road, wind, and engine noise more for me.

How can it be? Is driving deaf illegal there as well?

When cycling, I find that a simple fleece headband/hat that covers the ears is wonderful at stopping the wind noise, but letting in all the other important noises.

Wow, always putting earplugs in when you drive. Don't get me wrong, it is smart, just I lack the discipline to do it every time.

Well, it mostly involves leaving work with them in and leaving them in till I get where I'm going.

Plus, I've never been one to have ear infections, so I end up with used ones in all my pockets so they're pretty much always on me.

As another comment mentioned, there are flat frequency response ear plugs, Etymotic ETY ER20 are pretty cheap, reusable and cleanable. Not as much dB reduction, but that's better for some scenarios.

You would have a helmet on top if you're driving a motorcycle or bicycle, extra 20 dB is easily had with the right design, plus attenuating wind noise. Combine the two and it gets almost safe level of noise.

And a car would have pretty decent internal damping.

The general traffic is already way too loud. Can reach 80 dBA and even more in tunnels.

When you drive a truly noisy car or motorcycle, you will remember to do it.

Fantastic, someone driving a deadly vehicle responsible for 40,000 deaths every single year, and now they can't even hear anything either.

Hey, but as long as you are ok, right?

The ear plugs I wear are 27dB reduction, so it's not like I can't hear anything.

How do you think the 27dB reduction due to ear plug hearing protection compares to someone playing loud music in their car.

Also see my other comment here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20702195, reproduced for your benefit here:

At low speeds, driving around car parks etc, the ear plugs are out and usually have all the windows at least partly open, because I’m those environments hearing can be a huge boost to situational awareness.

I find above 40k/hr my hearing is better with ear plugs because it attenuates the road, wind, and engine noise more for me.

Additionally, I've never been responsible for a serious accident, only a couple fender-benders when I was much younger.

Also, as per the site guidelines https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

Be kind. Don't be snarky. Comments should get more thoughtful and substantive, not less, as a topic gets more divisive.

Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith.

That's exactly what I am thinking whenever I hear music from within a car passing by. Blanking out driving noises with the car stereo is much worse for aural situational awareness than plugs could ever be.

You do realize that deaf people can drive legally, yeah?

People with double arm amputations can also drive but if you or I decided to go out and drive with our feet it would be stupid.

The difference is that they obviously use cars that are modified and certified for use with foot controls(at least here in EU they are, I wouldn't be surprised if US didn't require any certification whatsoever). You also get a restriction on your licence saying that you can only drive such vehicles. A deaf person doesn't have any restrictions - my point is that there is no functional or legal difference between a deaf person driving and a person driving with earplugs in, the law doesn't specify a requirement that you have to be able to hear to drive.

The law doesn't have to require something to make it not a good idea.

My point was, I'm not deaf, but I'm fairly sure that on average deaf people are much better adapted to life with limited hearing than you or I would be when wearing ear buds. It doesn't logically follow that because a deaf person is allowed to drive we should be able to artificially reduce our hearing ability while driving.

By that same logic, if someone wears ear buds every time while driving they also become adapted to driving with ear buds.

I've had both front airbags deployed in a compact car with closed windows. Impaired hearing on the right ear (left-hand drive car) was the only damage I took.

I just want to say that this is exactly the type of thoughtfulness, design, engineering and research that justifies the price difference in something like a Mercedes and something like a Honda. There are so many small triumphs like this in class-leading, high-end vehicle manufacturers that go unnoticed and unsung and allow people with 2019 Accords to say things like "why would I pay $45,000 for that when I get better auto-steering for half the price?".

Certainly there are subtleties to high end cars like road feel, steering, throttle feedback, and ergonomics that are only apparent to "car people" and thus work the premium versus something that is more "point A to point B". I applaud Mercedes for not only putting the effort into deploying a feature like this, but also for marketing it.

How about the difference in long-term cost of ownership, serviceability, and overall reliability?

It's certainly one kind of car person that wants the latest and greatest nearly all the time. Some like to patronize particular auto makers, like fashionistas patronize fashion houses. It's quite another, equally valid kind of car person to take used examples of far simpler, utterly reliable cars and add suspension, brakes, forced induction, tuning, and so on far beyond what any manufacturer fits on any mass-market vehicle. They patronize component makers, often race- or restoration- oriented.

As for the non-enthusiasts, if you plan to lease a vehicle or trade it in every few years like clockwork, the eventual cost of added complexity might never affect you, apart from resale value. But the virtue of combining good mechanical QA with simplicity and serviceability is also much unsung, and cheaper, not more expensive.

> How about the difference in long-term cost of ownership, serviceability, and overall reliability?

Long-term owner of a 2004 Mercedes W211 E320 CDI in Europe, with 420k kilometers on the clock.

The inline 6-cylinder engine and the 5-speed auto transmission still work buttery smooth and the car pulls like a train without ever smoking. No interventions have ever been done to the engine and trans, apart from changing consumables on-time. The car still has a very solid feel to it, without any interior rattles and squeaks, with very few wear-and-tear signs on the interior. The original paint is still gleaming. The thickness of the paint and the metal is easily noticeable. A Honda of the same age and miles would probably still run, but will feel sub-par in most of these respects.

The car has a lot of electronic systems controlled by dedicated electronic units, the most notable of which is the brake-by-wire SBC system. It had been causing problems in early production, but the issue was fixed and that unit was replaced under warranty on almost all cars. It was a big reputation hit for Mercedes, though. That system was very innovative in the sense that it provides a common architecture for implementing traction control, ABS, brake-hold, etc.

So far, none of these systems have failed on my car, apart from the need to replace a few failed sensors for which I got warnings on the dashboard and were diagnosed easily while in the repair shop.

I own a 2003 Mercedes W203 C230 and it has 400k km.

No problems with the engine and transmission other than the valve cover gasket blows every once in a while and starts leaking oil. Simple fix.

Some of the other parts on the car aren't quite as robust. I had to get the front end rebuilt. The key fob died. (That was a fun day since the steering column was locked, and there was no way to get diagnostic codes out. The only way to diagnose that it was the key was to buy another key and see, so that required a trip to the dealer with the title in hand.) The starter failed twice. It started leaking oil from a gasket around the oil level sensor and got onto the wiring harness, and had to replace the wiring harness. The transmission gear in the panoramic sun-moon roof wore out, not worth fixing---just keep it closed. The motor actuator units under the seats both died a year apart from one another during a cold snap and started drawing 1A all the time, replaced the drivers side, and just disconnected the passenger side.

As long as there aren't any major problems with the engine/trans, I'll just patch it up. People just want too much money relative to the value of the cars. We'll see if there's a correction in that market once this next recession hits. Convincing people to finance $50k vehicles for 144 months, so that their payment is roughly $500, isn't a sustainable market.

Just wanted to share that I am a proud owner of a 2005 W211 E320 as well, gas however. 235k miles on the clock and it still starts up with the same 2 cranks and woosh as it did new and pulls on the highway just fine. Definitely a quality vehicle that has not only held up but hardly degraded since new.

I once talked to a taxi/cab driver about, why (in germany) almost every taxi/cab are a Mercedes. He said, that is is because of the insane durability of Mercedes cars. Plus it's easier for them to maintain them, since even for older cars there are plenty of repair parts (is that the correct term?) available.

Mercedes in Germany tend to be made in Germany, and there's a network effect in having so many around. I imagine Merc spares availability in Germany is a bit like Ford or Chevy parts availability in the US. With cabs, it's not a question of whether there will be issues, but when, and for how much. Here in the US, cabs routinely do full engine swaps to stay on the road. So many US fleets, like police departments, favor American cars.

> repair parts (is that the correct term?)

"spare parts" (more common) or "replacement parts" (more formal)

I drive a Honda and, as most Japanese cars, it’s virtually indestructible.

The Japanese makers still have that reputation. I think it's still mostly deserved, with one big exception: continuously variable transmissions. Toyota has done well on reliability there, thanks to their big head start with Prius. Honda might be catching up. But the other Japanese makers that merged with foreign rivals---Nissan, Mazda---have had more trouble.

Toyota and Honda have also had duds, of course. In particular, their up-spec engine options have often sacrificed a lot of reliability and serviceability, compared to the ubiquitous base options.

This is super common with Mercedes. They put a lot of whiz bang features into their eclass. Some, Like night vision camera heads up diaplay, don't take off, others trickle down and are or will be everywhere now like side curtain airbags or Lane keeping assist.

If you flip it on its head though, why is Mercedes only protecting people who pays 3-10x the price for their car for what in this case is just a software fix? Same with other cars and pre-collision breaking (vs a warning noise).

But you do need some features to justify that price tag.

One might liken it to how drug companies are charging $1M+ for new treatments and slowly cutting the cost as they walk the economic supply demand curve.

> [...] just a software fix?

They paid for research, marketing, engineering, etc. By that logic one could also argue, that Amazon shouldn't store safety related products in their warehouses, but instead give them away for free.

Even the C-class is pretty impressive (I got one and optioned it up because the E class is a bit too big for my city garage). I really, really appreciate just how freaking quiet it is inside when I’m driving downtown and how road noise is low even at freeway speeds. That’s got to be good for one’s hearing. And the safety record is impressive, not a single recorded fatality according to US government records despite its popularity. I hope they come out with an all-electric car soon (no I don’t mean their Smart cars).

The EQC is set to launch as a 2020 model, meaning it should be available soon.

Won't be in the market for a new car until at least 2021 but it's great to see this, getting all-electric experience under their belt will really help them polish it (although I have a feeling they've been polishing the EQC for a while).

I mean, the actual implementation of this feature could have been a few hours work...

Let the media center detect airbag deployment on CAN bus, then play a pre-saved quarter second audio sample at a fixed volume.

There might be complexities if the audio system is turned off and needs to boot up, but my guess is on all modern cars, the audio amplifier etc. is always turned on, even if the radio appears 'off'.

> the actual implementation of this feature could have been a few hours work...

Yeah, but nothing in the car world is that easy. First you need to fit this to all cars. Then you need to test it (not that cheap), document it extensively (safety level, failure states, activation conditions, ...), check that it actually does what it's supposed to do instead of for example worsening it and then you need to get it certified for all the automotive markets which alone is probably as expensive as all that came before.

Of course the theory is simple, but the practice includes so many departments and agencies that it probably cost several millions. And you need to earn those back, after all.

Still feels like it could be an OTA update in a Tesla. The "car world" needs to change and change has begun.

You need certification to go FSHHHHHHH?

And it's the kind of feature where if it only activates 98% of the time, or sometimes triggers incorrectly, it's not really a problem.

> Let the media center detect airbag deployment on CAN bus, then play a pre-saved quarter second audio sample at a fixed volume.

That would be too late, according to the description in the OP.

I'd say a comparison to Tesla would be way more apt than to Honda.

> this is exactly the type of thoughtfulness, design, engineering and research that justifies the price difference in something like a Mercedes

I don't know. I get into a Mercedes, and it all just feels so unintuitive to me. Not to mention cheap, like everything I touch is going to break off in my hand. And don't even get me started on the touchscreen that looks like it was taped to the dash as an afterthought.

I'll stick with my Acuras. I find them to be just as innovative and much more cost effective.

The C-class and most of the smaller SUVs are developed and built to a budget at plants mostly outside Germany, including USA, South Africa, Brazil. The relative lack of experience from the workforce shows in early engine failures, squeaky interior fitment and so on.

The heart of the range is still the E-class, which is built almost exclusively in Germany with a development budget of a few billion euros. A 4-cylinder diesel E-class is the archetypal long-distance cruiser in Europe, with many cars easily reaching over 600k kilometers on regular maintenance, while maintaining a fuel consumption of 5 litres per 100 kilometres during highway driving.

Why not link to the source directly at Mercedes [1]?

The website has only added marketing to the information available in the video from the original site.

I honestly thought this is satire until I saw it from the source, but this is actually pretty cool.

[1] https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/next/connectivity/pre-safe-...

I like the OP better, to be honest.

Your link is weirdly formatted on my machine to the point it looks broken.

Also I prefer reading text to watching a video.

I wish fire alarms did this for half a second before blasting your tympanic membrane with an ear-splitting noise. Residential ones are bad enough, but the ones in offices are the worst.

That's a good idea! I bet if someone were to develop a residential smoke detector that did that it would sell well. (Especially if it had other compelling features like a 10-year battery.)

I’d be happy with one that gives battery alerts at less than maximum volume.

If a fire alarm manufacturer saw how many upvotes the parent to this comment received, particularly considering how deep in the thread it’s buried, they’d most certainly develop one.

FYI - The 9V Lithium batteries last that long.


Good to know! We bought a few with integrated 10-year batteries from Home Depot a few years back, but I didn't realize you could get regular lithium 9Vs that last that long in a smoke detector now.

You should replace the smoke detector after 10 years anyway so buying the disposable ones is probably safer.

!! even the hard-wired ones are supposed to be replaced after 10 years, and new hard-wired ones will automatically brick themselves after the 10 years is up !!

For anyone reading this wondering how that's safe, I believe they make noise regularly once they reach this state, to encourage you to replace them, rather than just silently failing to operate!

Yep, blip every 30 seconds for 6 weeks, until they go silent.

It'll drive you nuts, especially if your handy builder put them in out-of-reach places.

Nest Protect sort of does this.

US fire codes require smoke alarms to be replaced every 7 years.

That office building alarms are worse is all the more annoying since they theoretically shouldn't need to wake people from sleep.

Well, they do need to overcome my noise-cancelled high-volume drown-out-coworkers music...

A couple year ago, I was listening to music at a super low volume (way below that of people talking around me, if I removed the headphones) when fire alarm triggered. I didn't hear it.

A coworker did pat my shoulder to let me know, and I noticed the super loud fire alarm as soon as I removed the quiet headphones.

The headphones were not noise-cancelling or anything. Just Sennheiser HD380 Pro, which provide ~30dB isolation. I don't think it would have been possible for fire alarm to be noticeable under such conditions unless it was loud to ear-damaging levels.

This suggests that alternative indicators than just sound should be in place, such as automatically turning off lights and switching to emergency lighting.

Small children have this problem when they are sleeping. They just don't wake up from high-pitched noises, but require lower frequency alarms ideally with spoken words: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-38918056

I wonder if this is an adaptation to not be woken up by infants crying at night until they're old enough that sleep isn't as important or they're able to help?

>This suggests that alternative indicators than just sound should be in place, such as automatically turning off lights and switching to emergency lighting.

The commercial building fire alarms have flashers on them for just that reason. Deaf people need to know the building is on fire too.

At one of my former workplaces we weren't allowed to wear over-ear noise cancelling head phones because of the risk that we didn't hear the fire alarm.

Listening to high-volume music every day can damage your hearing.

With active noise cancelling, the music can be loud relative to co-workers and alarms but not dangerously loud in absolute terms.

Listening to my coworkwers can be worse!

Just sue the alarm manufacturer.

I think this should be marked [2015], as the video included on the site was uploaded in 2015.

But still, this is really cool! I also didn't know that the ear has a "self-defense" mechanism against loud noise. I wonder how that mechanism interacts with things like headphone audio being played at high volumes. Does the mechanism eventually wear out? How does that affect people who do sound effects/mixing/mastering for a living?

The mechanism is specifically: a muscle (stapedius) attached to one of the bones of the inner ear (stapes) pulls it away, effectively breaking the sound conduction pathway.

This mechanism does not wear out. It can, however, be disrupted by damage to the muscle in question, or to the nerve innervating that muscle, or the portion of brain controlling that nerve.

However, you can still conduct sound without the stapes in place. It’s less effective - that’s why the bones of the inner ear are there at all - but in loud settings, and certainly in conditions where you can conduct sound effectively to the bones of the skull (eg, headphones), you can still pass enough sound to the cochlea to damage your hair cells.

> Does the mechanism eventually wear out?

I hope not, because I have been able to control the muscle voluntarily and it is still works after almost four decades.

It doesn't go off by itself all the time though. It's more for sudden loud noise, I don't think it works at all for sustained loud noises.

>I hope not, because I have been able to control the muscle voluntarily and it is still works after almost four decades.

Oh, is that how the brain rumblies thingy works? Huh, I never realized most people couldn't do that.

There's a subreddit for this ability: https://old.reddit.com/r/earrumblersassemble/

I realized it was rare, but I've never been able to explain what I'm doing to other people. Now I finally know!

Whoah! I thought everyone could do this!

> It's more for sudden loud noise, I don't think it works at all for sustained loud noises.

Yeah, it’s for when your brain thinks there might be a loud noise. I, too, was surprised when I found out that being able to deliberately tense it wasn’t ‘normal’.

It's not normal? Not sure about that.


"Some individuals can voluntarily produce this rumbling sound by contracting the tensor tympani muscle of the middle ear." (Emphasis mine.)

"Some individuals can voluntarily produce this rumbling sound by contracting the tensor tympani muscle of the middle ear. The rumbling sound can also be heard when the neck or jaw muscles are highly tensed as when yawning deeply."

That is: there are 2 methods. The first method only "some...can" and the second method "[all people] can". The second method seems to be exactly what I voluntarily do; unfortunately the second method's description omits mention of voluntariness ("as when" means that yawning is not mandatory) though. Thus, the "all people" method and doing it voluntarily might overlap much of the time.

Aside: I also have a hardly-traumatic "ear popping" (I say it that way because pressure-caused popping is called barotrauma) as a very early precursor to my voluntary rumbling. I wonder how typical that is...

I wonder whether deliberate ear-rumbling trains the muscle sufficiently to improve the protection.

I'm guessing an engineer named it the German equivalent of "pre-crash" sound, then someone in marketing decided that "pre-safe" sounds better. It may be better to call it "foreplay" sound, since if you ever hear it you're probably screwed.

Definitely someone over thinking it. "We don't want them to associate the car with crashing so let's use a generic word that doesn't make any sense without having to read 4 paragraphs on the marketing website".

So many startups do this too with product names, they fear whatever name will be too "limiting" and end up with some generic name that doesn't communicate anything at all.

Brand names shouldn't be taken so literally either, no one cares that "Vodafone" sells Internet and TV connections, not just cell phones. Or that Salesforce sells a whole bunch of products unrelated to sales. Or Facebook is expanding outside of social networks into AI and VR. But more importantly than the brand/trademark is the product names don't have to be all encompassing of everything the product does (or plans to do in the future).

People are smart enough to connect a name to a group of things even if the name is only about one of them. And a negative term like 'pre crash' is far more memorable than 'pre safe'.

Some technical disciplines use "safe" as a transitive verb meaning "to make it safe", either from damage or from damaging other things.

I've seen it most often in rocketry contexts - you "safe the rocket" in an aborted launch scenario so it won't go off accidentally, etc.

  "It is a good idea to add a safety release valve to your launcher. Sometimes it is important to abort a launch and safe the rocket after it has been pressurised." http://www.aircommandrockets.com/rocket_launcher.htm (Google "safe the rocket" for occasional other examples.)  
So the PRE-SAFE sound means the sound is to "safe your ears" before the crash, making them safe from damage.

But for that definition it's not "pre" anything. It's either a safing sound, or a pre-collision sound.

The event is the collision.

It's safing in advance of the event (pre-safe), rather than after the event (post-safe), which would be too late.

You are 99% correct. We use the english terms for this here in Germany, too. Everyone in the industry used to literally call this feature and others like it "pre-crash".

The name grates on both my ears and my eyes (due to the awkward shouty capitalization).

The Mercedes is known for being more expensive than most, but in most cases, it's worth it, not only for the luxury, but for the extreme attention to detail they put into safety.

For example, when you get into one, it will adjust the tension of the seatbelt automatically to be ideal for each passenger. And of course this pink noise. And a ton of other little things that cost extra that most people will never notice.

There's a reason the Mercedes is always at or near the top of any vehicle safety list.

I was recently in the market and was impressed by the amount of safety features available in modern models (my old car being a 2011 model). In the luxury range everything had automatic braking for rear-end collision, back-up collision prevention, 360 camera, lane-keeping assist, etc.. (albeit often as part of a pricier package). I'm sure many other brands have similar features too.

A couple days after I got the new car, a kid ran out behind my car as I was backing out of a parking spot. It beeped and stopped me from backing up anymore. I think I would've reacted in time too, but it was quite reassuring to have the computer help out.

For me the most useful feature is the 360 camera, which is admittedly more convenience than safety. It starts beeping loudly before you bump into things, and shows you a top-down view of your surroundings on the screen. Super super super useful for squeezing into tight parking spots. Just this morning I had to get into a really tight spot, and I probably would've been pretty nervous without the camera haha.

It is a little scary though that the system has so much control over the car now. Makes you wonder what'll happen if it glitches while you're on the highway.

As an aside, I still haven't gotten used to the seatbelt pull which startles me every time, it's a pretty firm tug. The 2019 BMW models have that too.

All these active safety systems contain a lot of self tests and sanity checks to make sure that they cannot interfere with normal driving. Such a system interfering instead of disabling itself is at most as likely as winning the lottery. You are much more likely to be saved from the consequences of a serious mistake. So while while your worry is natural because you give control to a machine that gkves you no insight into its operational state, it is also unjustified.

These features are also coming down in the prices ranges now as well. I recently bought our first car, a 2017 Suzuki that cost us $8,000 used (closer to $14,000 new maybe?)

It has the birds-eye view 360 degree parking camera (and curb view), forward collision auto emergency braking, lane departure warning and it'll beep at you when the car in front starts moving after a red light and you're too engrossed in your phone to notice.

Backup cameras have been federally mandated since, IIRC, 2017 in all new vehicles.

It's not just a backup camera, it's a stitched video from four cameras to create a "birds-eye view" of the "car" and its surroundings from overhead.

Demo: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xqbpqDZRd70

Funny I was in a rollover in a Honda Fit and did not experience any injury or even pain. Some pyrotechnic device fired to tension the seatbelt but I only knew because I could smell it.

I found myself hanging upside quite securely with my brain processing the strange sensation in being a place that was both highly familiar (my car) but entirely strange (being upside down.) I looked and saw that the back window had broken so I'd have an easy way to get out; I had time to plan my moves, then released the seatbelt and went out the back.

All modern cars meet very high standards for safety and these are improving all the time.

Modern cars are very safe. But luxury cars had pre-tensioners in the 80’s already.

What do they have now that the rest of us will get in 2050?

Starting in 2019, you get backup cameras...

Luxury brands can actually stop you from going into a lane when a vehicle is there or minimizing the damage if you push it. Kinda like Tesla Autopilot but only when you're about to do something stupid.

In my experience thus far that feature is rife with false positives, so it ends up being more of an annoyance than anything. Or even potentially dangerous in itself, as it can be disconcerting when the steering wheel shifts unexpectedly—it can feel like a loss of traction, which could cause the driver to react in a detrimental fashion.

We just got a new car; a Hyundai i30, kinda the opposite end of the market from the luxury brands. We had to pay a little extra for the safety pack (~$2k), but we have

- backup camera

- radar-guided "smart" cruise control (this is amazing!)

- lane-departure warning and active steering

- emergency braking

Our particular model doesn't have the blind-spot detection (as per parent post) or rear cross-traffic warning, even though the version just below it does (different factories, weird), but we preferred the better interior.

The lane keepong assistant was part of the base package when I bought mine. Hyundai added a lot of safety features to the base package or comparatively cheap extra packs to differentiate the car.

Unfortunately I couldn't get the advanced cruise control because I ordered mine with manual transmission. And the emergency braking feature acts weird on my car. It emits a warning signal if it detects a car in front lomg before it brakes but I find that to be pretty hit or miss.

Unfortunately they don't devote any attention to longevity or serviceability. But yes the safety features are excellent.

Mercedes is actually known for their engine longevity, reliability and serviceability.

Yes they have more issues with technology than other cars, but that's because they use more and newer technology than cheaper brands. [1]

[1] https://www.osv.ltd.uk/are-mercedes-benz-reliable/

I would find this more compelling if i hadn't had a Mercedes written off because of their "smart" technology choices.

Apparently with their vehicles (in this case a C180/2004) the tensioner is power-dependent and requires the vehicle to be used somewhat frequently to work at all. This means that simply by not using the car for 4-5 months, my dad returning to it and turning it on for < 3 seconds resulted in the motor starting with the tensioner not working, resulting in timing chain failure which irreparably damaged the valves and motor to the extent the vehicle was written off.

I don't have much automotive expertise by any means, but my understanding is that tensioner design in other makes of car generally do not experience critical failure when presented with "being used seldomly".

it's disappointing that the tensioner of all things would fail in that situation, but long intervals between use is a problem for all cars.

if your dad regularly lets a car sit for five months without driving it, he's going to have a lot of car troubles. ought to at least take it out a couple times a month, just for 20-30 minutes (ie, long enough to get fully warmed up).

Well tell that to whoever built the engine in my wife’s GL450. Cylinder head replacement after 40,000 miles, which involved dropping the engine.

I went to visit the shop while they were working on it. Wow, I do a bit of car work, but if I ever had my car in so many pieces I would never have gotten in back together again.

Thank god for extended warranties. I’ve never made out on a warranty so well, but one thing is for sure, I will never own that car out of warranty.

Well, you own an exceptionally complex car which still retains the form factor of a limousine. All the hardware for these features has to go somewhere and that usually means the space around the engine. There is not a lot the engineers can do to improve things. They are struggling to find usable space.

I suppose Toyota / Lexus is black magic, then?

why would you compare Toyota to Mercedes? they have almost nothing in common. I don't think Lexus is a good comparison either but that's more a matter of opinion.

They were, before their cars were filled with gadgetry. Can you find a 5+ year old Merc without something broken? The first buyer or lessee has moved on to something newer by then so nothing has to be designed to last long.

Well, I guess if you can't actually drive the car, you will be safest of all.. :-)

gavia1 3 months ago [flagged]

Please provide some non-anecdotal evidence to this claim?


I'm not sure how reliable this site is but in general, it is accepted that most luxury German cars have reoccurring issues. The reason why I say "accepted" is because in most cases, they are pushing cutting edge technology and with so many parts, something is going to give.

I do not know common Mercedes issues but with BMW SUVs the most common issues are plastic parts near gaskets (leaks), electrical systems, and ventilation (especially in X3).

Of coarse there are exceptions and not all cars are created equal but this seems to be the consensus year after year.

Look at the bottom of the doors of almost any Mercedes B-Class produced before 2009 and you will see brown corrosion traces. My B-Class (bought new in 2005) was literally falling apart from corrosion. They had massive quality problems in the early 2000s, with the B- and C-Class. I know this is my personal experience, but I will never be able to purchase any Mercedes car ever again.

That's bad luck! But... if you'll never buy from a manufacturer because one of their models had a corrosion issue or drivetrain issue you'd never be able to buy a car ever again?

It's one thing to have "a corrosion or drive-train issue" that affects a model or series of models built with that design. It's another to repeatedly have the same issue, repeatedly say it's fixed and then have it turn out to be not fixed. Toyota light truck frames, Nissan CVTs and arguably Honda A/C systems are the quintessential examples of this (though in Honda and Nissan's defense, they never claimed to have ever done anything about it).

I'm not gonna comment on the Mercedes because while they definitely have earned their reputation for being expensive in old age I'm not familiar enough with them to pass a value judgement.

Interesting. Not having looked at any data, I’m now wondering why most taxis in Germany are, and have been for a long time, mostly Mercedes? (Commonly their E class.) Are they just cheaper to buy for that purpose or what’s the reason?

Taxis get maintained religiously, and taxi companies have no problem replacing worn parts or even entire engines.

There is a big difference in build quality and longevity between modern Mercedes cars and the ones built in the 1970s and 1980s. They used to feel substantially better than other cars. Now they don't really, except for the S class.

That’s a good point. A lot of taxis in Germany are owned by individuals (so while it’s still a business, it’s often a one-person business), but I know they have workshops specifically for taxis, that are probably somewhat specialized on Mercedes. And maintenance packages that factor into the price, which Mercedes likely has if only because of their long tradition as a taxi brand, would play a role as well. Otherwise, I would still expect taxi concession owners to go with the most reliable brand, because any maintenance cost still has to be subtracted from your profit.

Note that Germany has some pretty strict requirements on what a car needs to have in order to be used as a taxi. Going non-standard in your choices there is probably not worth it financially in the end.

My 2010 MB C-class feels very much like my previous car, a 1988 MB 420 SEL which I bought new in 1988 and traded in in 2013 for the C-class.

Could some of that be attributable to the other brands getting better?

I've heard that German luxury cars (what we consider them here in the USA) are more like what we think of Fords here; so common and normal, considered affordable. Or maybe just not "high end" due to being common? Again, though, only heard that - nothing to back it up.

It also may be that because Mercedes and BMWs are "local brand" vehicles, there are more of them, and more mechanics out there able to service them? Whereas (to them) foreign cars like American vehicles you have to take to special American automobile repair places (like we have European auto repair places here that specialize in those makes/models)?

Again - guesses...

While it’s true that BMWs and Mercedes are extremely common (and by feeling also less of a “luxury brand”), at least in Munich, I’ve rarely seen a BMW taxi. They’re not all Mercedes, but I’d say that the majority easily is. So there has to be reasons for that, but the potential existence of special maintenance packages for taxis could easily be one of them.

My observation of Germans is that they have a strong sense of nationalism towards their own car brands, so I'm not surprised taxi drivers use a local brand rather than Prius like the rest of Europe.

As others have said older Mercedes had very good reliability, so that probably still rubs off on how people feel about cars today. I'd consider BMW more sporty than luxury.

BMW is local to Munich though. So they'd lean more towards BMW than Mercedes. I'm thinking it might be Mercedes having more leg room or being more comfortable on the back than BMW, which have always been marketed as driver centric.

Market differentiation.

For instance, the base A-CLass (small/mid size sedan) sold in Germany has a 110hp engine and cloth seats, and very few standard features. Base price (w/o VAT) is ~$24,000US.

The base US A-Class has a 190HP engine, leather, more standard features, and starts at $32,500.

Why does the US version need to have a more powerful engine?

The US consumer looking for a $24k 110hp car with cloth seats is not walking onto a Mercedes lot. Mercedes and BMW have always been luxury here, and for a long time there was a price premium simply for the exchange rate and tariffs. It would take a lot of advertising to make Mercedes a middle market brand and it would hurt their luxury image. Considering the number of not wealthy people I see financing or leasing “aspirational” cars like E-class Mercedes or BMW X-series, this isn’t really hurting the breadth of their market.

Different buyer preferences. Different needs.

Of course, it helps that most low-powered cars sold in the EU will have manual trans, where all US MBs are autos...

Also, US buyers will run the AC a lot more, and AC eats a lot of power...potentially as much as 15-20HP... that's a lot more noticeable with a tiny engine.

Still I doubt if it is actually justified, considering in India a similar size car is perfectly serving its purpose with a 60 to 70 HP engine.

The same reason Apple Doesn't sell an iPhone Zero in the US with a single core processor and 64MB of RAM.

The US is a mature product.

High end brands don't sell sub-lowend products.

But then it means that Americans are overpaying by buying capacity they don't really need. This is something I'm always wondered at, as in the 3rd world even well-off people try to minimize their expenses.

But we do need it. Look at traffic on our highways. You need power to safely merge in many places.

Tell that to the people who won't buy that car.

It also may be that because Mercedes and BMWs are "local brand" vehicles, there are more of them, and more mechanics out there able to service them? Whereas (to them) foreign cars like American vehicles you have to take to special American automobile repair places (like we have European auto repair places here that specialize in those makes/models)?

That's been true for taxis in the US for a long time --- which are usually full-size Chevrolets and Fords. They're also much roomier and thus give a more comfortable ride than the average import econobox, with extra capacity for luggage.

The Chevy Caprice and Ford Crown Victoria have been out of production for years so regardless of their advantages they won't be used as taxis much longer.

Mercedes sells non-luxury cars in Europe. They sell cars with cloth seats and manual transmissions. It’s just that in some markets such as the United States they have only sold luxury cars.

There have been going down market in the U.S with the C class, then the CLA and now the A class, but these are still low-end luxury cars.

While they certainly have some nifty safety features, I don't feel as though they really take safety seriously when they have one of the worst completion rates for the Takata airbag recall (source: https://www.nhtsa.gov/equipment/takata-recall-spotlight#comp...).

According to IIHS's data, riders in Mercedes C-class cars have about-average chances of injury. This means they're no safer than a Prius. Mercedes E-class cars have about 30% less than average chances of injury, about the same as Volvo and Subaru.


Some of their moose/elk test results have been pretty poor over the years though. These are two that spring to mind:



> The Mercedes is known for being more expensive than most, but in most cases, it's worth it, not only for the luxury, but for the extreme attention to detail they put into safety.

Citation needed. The little seatbelt tightening thing is cute but probably doesn't increase safety at all, and some cars in the 90s had a feature that would put the whole seatbelt on for you.

> "cute but probably doesn't increase safety at all"

Pre-Safe occupant protection including pretensioning reduced stress to the head and neck by 30-40%: https://media.daimler.com/marsMediaSite/en/instance/ko/The-P...

The comment is about safety, not just luxury, and Mercedes has been on the cutting edge for over a century. You can read about their list of innovations including being the first to have crumple zones, airbags, anti-lock brakes, traction control, and more: https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/benz/safety

> "and some cars in the 90s had a feature that would put the whole seatbelt on for you"

Are you referring to the belts attached to the A-pillar that would slide up when you sit? Those didn't handle the lap portion and were proven terrible by safety testing and consumer response.

My Benz warns me from upcoming frontal crashes, applies extra pressure on the brakes in these circumstances and even automatically brakes as a last resort to reduce the impact when the crash is inevitable. This is actually a default feature on all new Mercedes.

The pre-safe sound linked here is another example.

Forward collision warning and related features are now standard on the Honda Civic, for reference. Not a luxury feature any more.

It's crazy how fast a car deals with a collision. In the event of an actual crash, the car is _done_ processing the event and deploying all safety measures (airbags, seatbelt pretensioners, etc) before your body even begins to recognize the sensations of impact.

Not only that. Modern safety systems distinguish between different types of crashes and compute e.g. the optimal time to deploy the relevant airbags while the crash is happening. Supposedly, some implementations rely on piezo crystals embedded into the car frame to measure how the car is being deformed during the collision.

Mercedes did a small YouTube series on this together with Veritasium. Very interesting material.


> "PRE-SAFE® Sound is activated if your vehicle detects that a collision is unavoidable"

See also: Peril Sensitive Sunglasses™

Joo Janta 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses

Given that manufacturers are thinking seriously about reducing road death to zero (well in survivable speed scenarios) [1] I guess looking at secondary effects is the next step


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acoustic_reflex for people interested in 'stapedius reflex' that the article talks about.

This sounds like it's something new, but I thought Mercedes had been doing this for a long time already (read about it some years ago).

FYI, the pink noise sample in the video played back at 80 dB on my MBP (2017, 13") when I set the volume to max. I used an iPhone app to test the dB, and when I put the mic about an inch from the speaker, it registered about 80 dB.

Back where I was sitting, it was much much lower, and definitely didn't affect my hearing.

Well, that may of finally explained such musical releases such as https://g.co/kgs/2SgdjX at least for the budget car enthusiast market.

Some of the comments, just like PRE-SAFE SOUND, sound like an April Fool's Joke. But, apparently, it isn't. Very interesting, indeed. I never would have thought, that something like this might be an issue.

Am I the only one who listened to the video and didn't have anything happen with my tensor tympani? I can voluntarily control mine ("ear rumbling") so I know what it would feel /sound like.

Unless you played it pretty loud, nothing should happen. What speakers did you play it through, and at what volume?

I played it at max volume on my P30 Pro next to my ears and didn't hear anything... I'll try a more scientific test with an actual loudness measurement later.

> "https://www.mercedesbenzofnatick.com"

That's one long domain name...

Could this be used by the military to lessen combat injuries?

Less combat would lessen combat injuries even more.

And lessening car crashes would help with injuries far more than pre-safe sound. Unfortunately both are innevitable.

American combat injuries are anything but inevitable.

That’s pretty cool. Something non-obvious when we think about engineering vehicle safety. Of course it only matters if you make it out ok :)

Couldn't they come up with a more interesting name, say, "nudge-note"?

Now this is innovation! "Simple" and clever!

Is this why it doesn’t hurt your ears when you holler?

I bought a Mercedes because of this tech.

“Mercedes-Benz is constantly at the forefront of automotive safety technologies” - not really. Rear wheel drive, which is common in mb and bmw cars are a real danger in winter. Volvo claims, and seems to be, a safer and more at the forefront of safe driving choice.

> Rear wheel drive, which is common in mb and bmw cars are a real danger in winter.

It's up to the consumer: if you want a safe winter car, both BMW and MB will sell you an all-wheel-drive vehicle.

If you want to spend less, save weight, and have an enjoyable oversteer experience, they'll sell you a rear-wheel-drive vehicle.

Volvos were RWD for decades.

These days the electronic stability control systems in new cars make it almost irrelevant whether a car is RWD or FWD, unless you are on a racetrack. The cars will usually take control from the driver before serious oversteer becomes a problem.

And if that's not good enough, Mercedes and BMW offer a lot of AWD models.

Huge disclaimer required here.

FR (front-engine, rear whe drive) cars do have less traction in snow because there is less weight over the rear wheels. This is correct.

But there is nothing unsafe about FR. It has been around since the dawn of the automobile and continues to be the layout of choice outside of econoboxes and mid-engine sports cars.

Mercedes-Benz also manufacture front wheel drive cars too, so feel free to purchase those instead.

Modern day traction control systems have taken the majority of danger from power oversteer out of cars.

But then the only advantage you get in winter driving comes from fitting tyres (or tyre chains) appropriate to the conditions.

I prefer front wheel drive but I was impressed with how a RWD Buick with traction control handled in the winter.

In the past I have owned a BMW 330i and M Roadster, both rear wheel drive. I have never had another vehicle as easy to control on packed snow than either of those.

I much prefer rear wheel and feel safer with it. But I’d agree it takes a little more practice to drive one.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact