Leading through innovation
Even more than its meticulous engineering, Mercedes-Benz is defined by its continuous innovation. Since inventing the car in 1886, we've simply never stopped reinventing it.
What begins as a breakthrough becomes the standard for every car on the road.
Mercedes-Benz has a history of making history. Since the first car, Mercedes-Benz has set the pace for what all cars might someday become. With an ongoing stream of firsts in safety, performance and driving enjoyment, it's an ever more exciting roadmap to the future. And while there's a neverending roster of new achievements, there's only one reason the world's first automaker remains first in innovation. Carl Benz said it best: "The love of inventing never dies."
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The first car
In 1886, Carl Benz is awarded German patent number 37435 for a three-wheeled, self-propelled "Motorwagen". With a rear-mounted single-cylinder engine, the first automobile forever changes the way people move, and sparks a legacy of innovation that continues to this day.
iThe first female driver.
"Bertha Benz, Carl's wife, decided to help promote his invention by taking it on a 120-mile tour without his prior knowledge. She also served as her own mechanic on the trip."1886
The first auto race
The multivalve engine
4-wheel independent suspension
The Mercedes 170 features the first-ever fully independent suspension, which allows each wheel to respond individually. Along with a new hydraulic braking system, the 170 sets new performance and safety benchmarks that remain the gold standard today.
iIndependent thinking, inspiring control.
"Precise wheel control is a guiding principle of many later handling and comfort breakthroughs, from the first 4-wheel independent suspension on an SUV (the original M-Class), to the highly advanced Active Body Control (ABC), to the elegant simplicity of AGILITY CONTROL."1931
Diesel passenger car
Passenger-car safety development
Conical-pin door lock
Crumple zone (series production: 1959)
Crash testing program
For the first time, development of every new Mercedes includes an increasingly rigorous regimen of crash-testing. This vital learning tool was initially performed outdoors.1958
Offset-frontal crash test
Antilock Braking System (ABS)
A concept first unveiled in 1970, ABS helps the driver retain steering control under heavy braking by preventing wheel lockup. It remains both a milestone in automotive safety and a cornerstone, with the ability to individually brake wheels serving as a fundamental element of countless future breakthroughs.
iBrakes that accelerated progress.
"Single-wheel braking can also generate corrective rotation of a car about its vertical axis. This fundamental ABS benefit has since been put to use in innovations from electronic traction control and stability control to Active Lane Keeping Assist and Active Blind Spot Assist."1978
4MATIC all-wheel drive (AWD)
CFC-free climate control
Controller Area Network (CAN)
Electronic Stability Program (ESP®)
Tele Aid and mbrace
Introduced as Tele Aid and later enhanced under the mbrace® banner, this continually advancing suite of security, convenience and navigation features can connect drivers to their vehicle or to Mercedes-Benz Customer Assistance via smartphone, computer or three buttons inside the car. In 2012, the new mbrace2™ brought the Internet into the car, with new apps and expanded remote and in-car features.
iYour world, in motion.
"With mbrace2, you can easily navigate to places you find on Google, Yelp or even Facebook friends' check-ins, all from your car."
A groundbreaking system that can help prepare the occupants for an accident before it happens, PRE-SAFE can detect that certain types of collision might be imminent. In the precious moments before impact, it can snug the front seat belts and adjust the front head restraints to help optimize the effectiveness of the restraint systems.
iSafety first, when seconds count.
"PRE-SAFE responds when active safety systems like ESP are fully engaged but not restoring control. If it senses a severe sideways skid, it can even close the windows and sunroof. And if no accident occurs, the seat-belt tensioners reverse, you reopen your windows, and continue on your way."
DISTRONIC PLUS with PRE-SAFE Brake
After measuring over 70 parameters in the first few minutes of a drive, this innovation can help detect signs of drowsiness and audibly alert the driver to take a break.
iAdded sensitivity, no added sensors.
"Remarkably, ATTENTION ASSIST operates entirely from sensors already in a Mercedes-Benz. It cleverly tracks and compiles input from existing systems, from steering behavior to a lack of interaction with dashboard controls, to determine that a driver might be getting drowsy."2010
Today, Tomorrow, the Future
How you'll see even more of the world from your Mercedes-Benz.
Gesturing to the future.
Capable of recognizing and using a driver's hand movements to create a custom virtual dashboard -- complete with live feed from their social network -- the Mercedes-Benz DICE (Dynamic & Intuitive Control Experience) concept represents our commitment to the kind of innovation that answers and even anticipates drivers' needs.
We invented the car and now, we're on the verge of introducing the self-driving car. It's an example of our commitment to creating the most intelligently connected vehicles on the road. See our latest breakthroughs at work in this video as we retrace Bertha Benz's 60-mile route from Mannheim to Pforzheim without touching the wheel.